by Derrick Tappin
Hare hunting is a sport of pure skill of the hound. I have run so many different types of hounds that range from absolutely super fast to completely useless. But how is it that a person from one end of the country and a person from the other end can look at the same dog and one will say this hound is no good and the other will say that he is awesome? Well, we can start by saying everyone has different wants and needs and expectations out of any given hound. Some hounds that I have had the privilegeof running with will, back track and run way back on the line during a check and the owner will say, “Wow, look at him search for that rabbit”, yet to me that’s a major fault in a hunting Beagle,not to mention a trial dog. People are sometimes blind when it comes to finding faults in their hounds, I can not speak for everyone, just some of the people that I have run with here in Canada.
Also I have never seen such a wide variety of appearance in Beagles, since I have started Beagling. I have seen basset looking Beagles, taller than normal Beagles, smaller than normal Beagles, all you have to do is look in some of the other magazines like SPO, Rabbit Hunter, Better Beagling, and Hounds and Hunting. These magazines are good sources of information and they just print who are the winners. Ican tell you I personally do not think that the Beagles are as pure as they are supposed to be. I have also seen that these hounds are registered, and that, in my opinion, does not say much for the registries. I personally do notthink that the policing at these registries is being done very well. Just look at all the different types of so called Beagles out there. I have even seen a 17.5 inch tall Beagle? And how about a 11 inch Beagle that has ears that can reach the ground, and feet the size of a hippo. Well, if you do not believe me look for yourself. In my opinion, a Beagle is 13 to 15 inch tall with a blocky, smaller headthat is stout. They have reaching legs with a brisk trot or fast walk and a slightly gay tail not to long or short. The body can be racy or stocky but not too long. Like I say I am not an expert but when you are told it is purebred it should at least look purebred, and if for any reason that you would think that it does not look like I described above , then I would be sending up red flags.
But in any case, if theseBeagles are going to continue tosurface, we should start another breed called hare hounds. I am not saying that they are bad hunters, but rather they are not looking like the Beagle ancestors that we all know and learned about. Believe me when I say that they are good hunters because they are bred to run rabbits. I have even tried the crossing in with other breeds to see if I myself could get a strongernoseor more line control, but I still do not register them as purebreds. I hope I do not offend anyone who reads this, because that is not my intention. I just wanted to speak my mind on this subject that has been bothering me. After all a Beagle is a Beagle as far as I am concerned and they should stay that way. I know that most people that breed Beagles for rabbit and hare hunting do not care what the hound looks like as long as it hunts great but when other breeds are mixed into a pure breed it ruins the look of the Beagle and the reputation of the Beagle. The proof is in my words when I say that I have seen first hand what a 3/4 Beagle and ¼ Basset looks like. I havedone this cross myself and they generally turn out to be very good hunters. They are too slow for hare hunting, but make great rabbit dogs and will hold on all day if you want them to. But no matter how hard they hunt they are not Beagles. So if you have any questions on any hounds then ask them do not just let it slide, or we will be overwhelmed with Beagle crosses and not purebred Beagles.