Page 122 - ShowSight - April 2020
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                since interbreeding between the two sizes was allowed. In 1909, the Bas- set Griffon Vendeen Club distin- guished between the PBGV (approxi- mately 13-15"/34-38cm) and the GBGV (approximately 15-17"/39-44cm).
Both breeds are still used in France as hunting dogs, with the GBGV used pri- marily on hare, deer, and wild boar, and the PBGV primarily for rabbit. In France, a GBGV can’t become a champion without a working certificate as proof of their ability in the field. The PBGV is also subject to a working trial there. There was at one time a pack of hunting PBGVs in the United States, most recently in 2000. PBGVs in the United States are active in the same hunt tests with Basset Hounds and these simulate hunting conditions.
The PBGVs and GBGVs’ coat descrip- tion, in both their AKC and FCI stan- dards, are rather similar with descriptions including harsh/hard, long and straight with undercoat and without exaggerations, beard, moustache and protective eyebrow and ear hair, and well-furnished tail. While only one of the standards (GBGV) calls for the fan of protective hair in front of the eyes, both breeds are seen with it world- wide, both in the field and in the show ring.
While show PBGVs and GBGVs do not appear to have morphologically diverged in type or structure from their hunting breth- ren, there is a significant difference in what is usually seen coat-wise between field and show. While its causation is man-made, both breeds generally appear over-groomed for the show ring, with some taking on the appearance of a Schnauzer trim. When one sees a PBGV or GBGV that is purposefully untrimmed, or one that hunts actively, there can be no forgetting the rustic and tousled appearance. To see PBGVs or GBGVs after a season of hunting is to witness what natu- ral trimming caused by branches and briars does in pulling the coat on head, body, and legs. To be sure, the eyebrows, the fan of hair in front of the eyes, the covering ear hair, and harsh coat with softer undercoat is purposeful. It is not uncommon for the PBGV or GBGV to come back from a hunt, depending on the cover, with scratches on the bridge of the nose, in an arc immedi- ately behind the eyebrows, and in front of both shoulder blades. Think about it: their heads are down and they are pushing through cover, single-minded in their main- tenance of the quarry’s scent line. At what point does the conformation adjudicator
“ How conscious are we of these real and perceived differences when we make our
judging decisions, be they in the show ri”
ng, field trial, hunt test, or in breeding?
penalize man-made grooming and trim- ming that exist solely for exhibition pre- sentation, and which may actually be to the detriment of the Hound in the field?
The Otterhound is one of the rarest of breeds in the world and it is estimated that fewer than 600 exist. They are on the vul- nerable breeds list in their native United Kingdom. Otter hunting was outlawed in the United Kingdom in 1978 due to the decimation in the otter population, not due to hunting, but due to loss of habitat and the introduction of chemicals in waterways that otters called home. When one exam- ines photographs of the breed from the late 19th and early 20th century, there are scarcely any discernible differences with the Otterhound of today. Coats varied in length and thickness then as they do now. What we do not see, or smell, nowadays is the distinctly oily coat. With many Otter- hounds being kept as house companions, it is no wonder the oily coat and its attendant odor are shampooed away. What continues to be valued, however, is the dense, coarse and crisp coat of about 2-4 inches in length, with a woolly, water-repellent undercoat. After the closing of the last Otterhound hunts in the United Kingdom, some Otter- hounds were used to hunt mink and were also infused with Hounds that ran faster.
The most recent additions to the Scent Hounds within AKC are the Coonhounds, although they have been recognized by the UKC for decades. Hunting raccoons with selectively-bred Hounds has been a sport, and a source of pelts for clothing or sale, since the 1700s. While the AKC recognizes six Coonhound breeds: American English Coonhound, Black and Tan Coonhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Plott Hound, Red- bone Coonhound, and Treeing Walker Coonhound, the UKC adds a seventh to that group, the American Leopard Hound. The Leopard Hound is in the AKC’s Foun- dation Stock Service.
Many Coonhounders are actively engaged in hunting with their dogs, there
being slight style differences between the bench show dogs and the night hunt (hunt- ing) dogs. There are very apparent type differences, however, between the UKC Black and Tan Coonhound and the AKC Coonhound. The UKC style Black and Tan is a smaller hound with somewhat less substance, and ears that are shorter than its AKC brothers. Most of the AKC Black and Tans that show and still hunt actively tend toward the UKC side stylistically. With a divergence of type between Black and Tans from the two registries, a tendency toward Bloodhound type within the Black and Tan Coonhound is to be avoided, both in mor- phology and gait.
While technique of exhibition is not the focus here, it should be noted that the inclusion of the additional five Coonhound breeds in AKC shows has also brought with it a stylistic change in the ways those breeds are exhibited in AKC shows vs AKC/UKC Coonhound Bench Shows.
Within the Coonhound breeds, the hunting dog is, generally, lighter in weight and in much harder condition than its show kin. This should not exclude superior speci- mens from advancing in the show adjudi- cation process! However, when individual members of a Coonhound breed begin to exhibit type attributes consistent with one of the other Coonhound breeds or another Scent Hound breed, the adjudicator must take that into serious consideration in the reward process. The type differences in the Coonhound breeds are beyond the color and coat pattern differences.
How conscious are we of these real and perceived differences when we make our judging decisions, be they in the show ring, field trial, hunt test, or in breeding? If there is a divergence in type or morphology, what are we doing, as breeders and judges, to close the gap?
I’ll look forward to your com- mentary and questions on this article, as well as the ones that follow in this series. Feel free to send your comments to

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