Page 120 - ShowSight - April 2020
P. 120

“ The type style differences between the field and show Beagle are often differentiated in head
Today, the majority of field trialing Dachs- hunds come from the ranks of show exhibi- tors and there is not a generalized discern- ible difference between show and field trial dogs. The coat of the long-hair variety, while in show condition, can be a hindrance in the field, collecting weeds, grasses, small sticks, and burrs. Might we be able to say that the coats of the long-hairs in show condition are excessive to their purpose of hunting small- er animals like rabbits or tracking wound- ed game (miniature varieties) or tracking and dragging badgers from their burrows (standard varieties)?
The Bloodhound was originally bred for hunting deer and wild boar, and since the Middle Ages, for tracking people. Today, it can still be found accompanying riders in the hunt in the United Kingdom and hunt- ing on foot in France, where the quarry is rabbit, hare, wild boar and deer. In the Unit- ed States, the breed is primarily utilized for work in law enforcement as a tracking dog of humans. The United States’ parent club conducts various levels of man-trailing tests for Bloodhounds. Some of these dogs are the ones shown successfully at dog shows. In the early 80s, I was learning to track with my Bassets and a fellow learner was a police officer with his Bloodhound bitch. She was not what I was accustomed to seeing in the show ring, being lighter in body, substance, and carrying less skin. As I continued to track in different parts of the country, I noticed that more than some of the law enforcement Bloodhounds tended to be like the earlier Bloodhound bitch I’d seen in the 80s. Why is that? Does law enforcement tend toward using the dog that does not have a super-abundance of skin, substance, or too prominent haws? While there are a few non-profits that breed and train Blood- hounds exclusively for law enforcement use, many Bloodhounds in service come from breeders, be they show or otherwise. What is certain is that law enforcement is concerned with one thing, and that is the Hound’s ability to trail human scent until the target is found. The fact that dogs from show breeders and dogs purposely-bred by non-profits for the task are both in the law enforcement search and rescue arena tells me that there must be a smaller divergence in overall type from those bred for work and those bred for show.
The Petit Bassets Griffon Vendeen (PBGV) and the Grand Bassets Griffon Vendeen (GBGV) at one time came from the same litters, as recently as 1977, >
properties, especially softness of exp”
ression, body depth and length, and bone.
the Hounds than their morphology? Or is the morphology adapted to the needs of the hunter over time and the particular terrain? Or is adapted for the show exhibitor with a single-minded purpose of developing stock for non-work exhibition?
The previous quote from the Festival of Hunting website gives us some insight as to what is occurring. The quote is reflective of the cause of, and resulting morphological shift in, some dog breeds. Doesn’t it stand to reason that when only one avenue (work/ hunting or show) is pursued, the extremes at each end of the bell-curve are evidenced in the resultant dogs?
In my own breed, Basset Hounds, I have seen pack Bassets in the US exhibited at some hunting Hound shows that make me ask myself what they have been cross-bred with? They are that far in type and structure from the AKC, UKC, and FCI standards. On the other hand, there are numerous Bas- set Hound dual champions (field and show) on both coasts that successfully exhibit in AKC shows and are “hunted” in field tri- als and hunt tests. I use the term “hunted” in quotes, as field trials and hunt tests are simulations of real-world hunting where the Hounds jump the rabbit or hare and pursue it until the hunter’s gun dispatches it or it goes to ground, or the Hounds lose it. To be sure, there are working Basset Hound packs in Europe that exhibit all the type qualities stipulated in the AKC and FCI standards. Their owners have made it their mission to retain type as well as working ability, much like the breeders and owners of dual (show and field) Bassets in the US. The dual Hounds that I have seen over the years fall within that middle half of the bell curve with 1⁄4 being on the left and 1⁄4 on the right sides of the curve’s center, respectively. This has been an advancement, at least in my eyes, from the type and morphology of field Bassets in the 1970s and into the 80s, where the emphasis was on field per- formance only. The type style differences of
yore have been steadily closing with time. There still remain pockets of Basset Hounds throughout the world where excesses of type: too much bone, too much skin, lower eye lid too everted showing too much haw, too low to the ground, cumbersome gait, are still found. However, there is a growing respect for the breed’s function and subse- quent breeding actions taken to alleviate those excesses.
It appears to me that Beagles have gone through much the same cycle, although the percentage of show exhibitors who also field trial and/or hunt test is smaller than the percentage of Basset exhibitors. The Beagle field trailers I have spoken with seem to be more concerned with field trial ability than structure or type nuances, while still main- taining a breed recognizable as a Beagle. Here the emphasis on field trialing alone has demonstrated a significant difference in the way pack Beagles work as opposed to brace Beagles. In overcoming that differ- ence, one sees the Beagle Small Pack Option (SPO) being utilized more frequently in field trialing than what once was. Still, the SPO remains a smaller percentage of trials than brace trials. The type style differences between the field and show Beagle are often differentiated in head properties, especially softness of expression, body depth and length, and bone. There exist pockets of hunters in the United States that still hunt their Beagles for the opportunity to put a rabbit or hare in the stew pot, and have no interest in either field trialing or exhibiting. The number continues to dwindle as habitat is lost and ready-processed variety meats are available at the grocery store.
The Dachshunds have been in existence in Germany since the 15th and 16th centu- ries, and they’ve been field trialing in the United States under the auspices of the par- ent club since 1935, with the addition of local breed club trialing beginning in 1964. There exist a few hunters that use the Dachs- hund as a blood trailer of downed game.

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