“In giving a description of the various breeds of Hound dogs,” says Mr. Jesse, “everyone must be aware, that by crossing and recrossing them many of those we now see have but little claim to originality. The fox-hound, the old Irish wolf-dog, and the Colley or shepherd’s dog, may perhaps be considered as possessing the greatest purity of blood. ” Mr. Jesse then refers to a picture of a pack of hounds in Wilkinson’s “Manners and Customs of the Egyptians,” a picture which was copied from a painting found in one of the tombs of the Pharaohs, in which “every individual hound is characteristic of the present breed.” If this be so, as Mr. Jesse says, “this breed must be considered of a much more ancient date than is generally supposed. “The Fox-hound is described by Colonel Smith as ” somewhat lower at the shoulders and more slender built” than the stag-hound. His color is “white, but commonly marked with larger clouds of black and tan, one on each side the head, covering the ears, the same on each flank and one at the root of the tail.” The Fox-hound has great strength and endurance, and will run ten hours in pursuit of the fox.
Many extraordinary stories are told of the Fox-hound’s ardor for sport. According to Mr. Jesse, a bitch was on one occasion taken in labor while in the hunting field, and after giving birth to a pup took it in its mouth and pursued the chase. Another bitch, whose eye had been struck from the socket accidentally by the lash of the whipper-in who did not believe her challenge, pursued the fox alone for a great distance with her eye pendant, until the rest of the pack came up and the fox was killed. Perhaps one of the most remarkable instances of tenacity of purpose in an animal is that quoted by Mr. Jesse from the supplement to Mr. Daniel’s “Rural’ Sports.” “The circumstance took place in the year 1808, in the counties of Inverness and Perth, and perhaps surpasses any length of pursuit known in the annals of hunting. On the 8th of June in that year, a fox and hound were seen near Dunkeld in Perthshire, on the high road, proceeding at a slow trotting pace. The dog was about fifty yards behind the fox, and each was so fatigued as not to gain on the other. A countryman very easily caught the fox, and both it and the dog were taken to a gentleman’s house in the neighborhood, where the fox died. It was afterwards ascertained that the hound belonged to the Duke of Gordon, and that the fox was started on the morning of the 4th of June, on the top of those hills called Monaliadh, which separate Badenoch from Fort Augustus. From this it appeared that the chase fasted four days, and that the distance traversed from the place where the fox was not kenneled to the spot where it was caught, without making any allowances for doubles, crosses, etc., and as the crow flies, exceeded seventy miles.”