The Harrier And The Beagle





The Harrier is a distinct breed of hound used for hunting the hare--or

rather it should be said the Association of Masters of Harriers are

doing their utmost to perpetuate this breed; the Harrier Stud Book

bearing witness thereto: and it is to be deplored that so many Masters

of Harriers ignore this fact, and are content to go solely to Foxhound

kennels to start their packs of Harriers, choosing, maybe, 20 inch

to 22 inch Foxhounds, and thenceforth calling them Harriers. It is,

indeed, a common belief that the modern Harrier is but a smaller

edition of the Foxhound, employed for hunting the hare instead of

the fox, and it is almost useless to reiterate that it is a distinct

breed of hound that can boast of possibly greater antiquity than any

other, or to insist upon the fact that Xenophon himself kept a pack

of Harriers over two thousands years ago. Nevertheless, in general

appearance the Harrier and the Foxhound are very much alike, the one

obvious distinction being that of size.



Opinions differ as to what standard of height it is advisable to aim

at. If you want to hunt your Harriers on foot, 16 inches is quite

big enough--almost too big to run with; but if you are riding to them,

20 inches is a useful height, or even 19 inches. Either is a good

workable size, and such hounds should be able to slip along fast

enough for most people. Choose your hounds with plenty of bone, but

not too clumsy or heavy; a round, firm neck, not too short, with a

swan-like curve; a lean head with a long muzzle and fairly short ears;

a broad chest with plenty of lung room, fore-legs like gun barrels,

straight and strong; hind-legs with good thighs and well let down

hocks; feet, round like cats' feet, and a well-set-on, tapering stern.

Such a make and shape should see many seasons through, and allow you

to be certain of pace and endurance in your pack. It is useless to

lay down any hard and fast rule as to colour. It is so much a matter

of individual taste. Some Masters have a great fancy for the dark

colouring of the old Southern Hound, but nothing could look much

smarter than a good combination of Belvoir tan with black and white.

Puppies, as a rule, a week or two after they are whelped, show a

greater proportion of dark marking than any other, but this as they

grow older soon alters, and their white marking becomes much more

conspicuous. As in the case of the Foxhound, the Harrier is very

seldom kept as a companion apart from the pack. But puppies are

usually sent out to walk, and may easily be procured to be kept and

reared until they are old enough to be entered to their work.

Doubtless the rearing of a Harrier puppy is a great responsibility,

but it is also a delight to many who feel that they are helping in

the advancement of a great national sport.



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There is nothing to surpass the beauty of the Beagle either to see

him on the flags of his kennel or in unravelling a difficulty on the

line of a dodging hare. In neatness he is really the little model

of a Foxhound. He is, of course, finer, but with the length of neck

so perfect in the bigger hound, the little shoulders of the same

pattern, and the typical quarters and second thighs. Then how quick

he is in his casts! and when he is fairly on a line, of course he

sticks to it, as the saying is, like a beagle.



Beagles have been carefully preserved for a great many years, and

in some cases they have been in families for almost centuries. In

the hereditary hunting establishments they have been frequently found,

as the medium of amusement and instruction in hunting for the juvenile

members of the house; and there can be nothing more likely to instil

the right principles of venery into the youthful mind than to follow

all the ways of these little hounds.



Dorsetshire used to be the great county for Beagles. The downs there

were exactly fitted for them, and years ago, when roe-deer were

preserved on the large estates, Beagles were used to hunt this small

breed of deer. Mr. Cranes' Beagles were noted at the time, and also

those of a Colonel Harding. It is on record that King George IV. had

a strong partiality for Beagles, and was wont to see them work on

the downs round about Brighton. The uses of the Beagle in the early

days of the last century, however, were a good deal diversified. They

were hunted in big woodlands to drive game to the gun, and perhaps

the ordinary Beagle of from 12 inches to 14 inches was not big enough

for the requirements of the times. It is quite possible, therefore,

that the Beagle was crossed with the Welsh, Southern or Otterhound,

to get more size and power, as there certainly was a Welsh

rough-coated Beagle of good 18 inches, and an almost identical

contemporary that was called the Essex Beagle. Sixty years ago such

hounds were common enough, but possibly through the adoption of the

more prevalent plan of beating coverts, and Spaniels being in more

general use, the vocation of the Beagle in this particular direction

died out, and a big rough-coated Beagle is now very rarely seen.



That a great many of the true order were bred became very manifest

as soon as the Harrier and Beagle Association was formed, and more

particularly when a section of the Peterborough Hound Show was

reserved for them. Then they seemed to spring from every part of the

country. In 1896 one became well acquainted with many packs that had

apparently held aloof from the dog shows. There was the Cheshire,

the Christ Church (Oxford), Mr. T. Johnson's, the Royal Rock, the

Thorpe Satchville, the Worcestershire, etc., and of late there have

been many more that are as well known as packs of Foxhounds. One hears

now of the Chauston, the Halstead Place--very noted indeed--the

Hulton, the Leigh Park, the Stoke Place, the Edinburgh, the Surbiton,

the Trinity Foot, the Wooddale, Mrs. G. W. Hilliard's, Mrs. Price's,

and Mrs. Turner's.



Beagle owners, like the masters of Foxhound kennels, have never been

very partial to the ordinary dog shows, and so the development of

the up-to-date Beagle, as seen at recent shows, is somewhat new. It

is just as it should be, and if more people take up beagling it

may not be in the least surprising. They are very beautiful little

hounds, can give a vast amount of amusement, and, for the matter of

that, healthy exercise. If a stout runner can keep within fairly easy

distance of a pack of well-bred Beagles on the line of a lively Jack

hare, he is in the sort of condition to be generally envied.



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DESCRIPTION OF THE BEAGLE: HEAD--Fair length, powerful without being

coarse; skull domed, moderately wide, with an indication of peak, stop

well defined, muzzle not snipy, and lips well flewed. NOSE--Black,

broad, and nostrils well expanded. EYES--Brown, dark hazel or hazel,

not deep set nor bulgy, and with a mild expression. EARS--Long, set

on low, fine in texture, and hanging in a graceful fold close to the

cheek. NECK--Moderately long, slightly arched, the throat showing

some dewlap. SHOULDERS--Clean and slightly sloping. BODY--Short

between the couplings, well let down in chest, ribs fairly well

sprung and well ribbed up, with powerful and not tucked-up loins.

HIND-QUARTERS--Very muscular about the thighs, stifles and hocks well

bent, and hocks well let down. FORE-LEGS--Quite straight, well under

the dog, of good substance and round in the bone. FEET--Round, well

knuckled up, and strongly padded. STERN--Moderate length, set on high,

thick and carried gaily, but not curled over the back. COLOUR--Any

recognised hound colour. COAT--Smooth variety: Smooth, very dense

and not too fine or short. Rough variety: Very dense and wiry.

HEIGHT--Not exceeding 16 inches. Pocket Beagles must not exceed 10

inches. GENERAL APPEARANCE--A compactly-built hound, without

coarseness, conveying the impression of great stamina and vivacity.





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