It has been claimed that the Foxhound is the most perfect member of his race, and that no dog equals him in beauty of conformation, nose, and courage. However that may be, more time and money have been spent upon them than on any other breed.
The Foxhound is said to be the result of a cross between the Bloodhound and the Greyhound. They have been recognized as a distinct breed, however, for nearly three centuries. At the present time in this country there are two distinct types of Foxhounds-the American and the English. The English hound is larger and heavier-boned than his American cousin. English breeders have established a high standard of excellence as to size, conformation, general symmetry, beauty of form and style, but this has been done at the expense of nose, speed, endurance, and fox sense.
The English hound is more satisfactory to hunt clubs in the East, where the majority hunt to ride, for English dogs are better trained and broken, more evenly matched as to speed, and not fast enough to get away from the rider. They also present a more pleasing appearance to the eye.
The American hound is descended from hounds brought to this country in pre-Revolutionary days by the sport-loving gentry of Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina, who bred them on purely utilitarian lines, and succeeded in producing a family of dogs which admirably filled the purpose for which they were desired, and which are now scattered all over the United States.
The American hound lacks the uniform size and the regular markings of the English hound. They are lighter in bone and muscle, but far excel them in brains and fox sense. Their noses are keener, and they will strike out boldly and search the likely place for the fox, and will then drive them faster and harder and give tongue with sweeter voices than their English rivals.
Snipiness, coarse skull, cow hocks, flat sides, unstraight forelegs, and open feet are unpardonable faults in a Foxhound.
The chief points to look for in the selection of Foxhound puppies at from two to four months old and after, are: A long, level head, big nostrils, square muzzle, great bone, deep chest, short back. The American Foxhound standard and value of points:
HEAD.-The skull should be fairly long, slightly domed at the occiput, with cranium broad and full. EARS.-Ears set on moderately low, long, reaching, when drawn out, nearly, if not quite, to the end of the nose; fine in texture, fairly broad, with almost entire absence of erectile power, setting close to the head, with the forward edge slightly inturned to the cheek; rounded at tip.
EYES.-Eyes large, set well apart, soft and houndlike; expression gentle and pleading; of a brown or hazel color.
MUZZLE.-Muzzle of fair length, straight and square cut, the stop moderately defined. Jaws.–Level; lips free from flews; nostrils large and open.
DEFECTS.-A very flat skull, narrow across the top; excess of dome; eyes small, sharp, and terrierlike, or prominent and protruding; muzzle long and snipy, cut away decidedly below the eyes, or very short. Roman nosed or upturned, giving a dishface expression. Ears short, set on high, or with a tendency to rise above the point of origin.
BODY, NECK, AND THROAT.-Neck rising free and light from the shoulders, strong in substance, yet not loaded, of medium length. The throat clean and free from folds of shin; a slight wrinkle below the angle of the jaw, however, may be allowable.
DEFECTS.-A thick, short, cloddy neck, carried on a line with the top of the shoulders. Throat showing dewlap and folds of skin to a degree termed “throatiness.”
SHOULDERS, CHEST, AND RIBS.-Shoulders sloping, clean, muscular, not heavy or loaded, conveying the idea of freedom of action with activity and strength. Chest should be deep for lung space, narrower in proportion to depth than the English hound, 28 inches in a 23-inch hound being good. Well sprung ribs; back ribs should extend well back; a three-inch flank allowing springiness.
DEFECTS.-Straight, upright shoulders; chest proportionately wide or with lack of depth; flat ribs.
BACK AND LOIN.-Back moderately long, muscular, and strong. Loin broad and slightly arched. DEFECTS.-Very long or swayed or roached back; flat, narrow loin.
FORELEGS AND FEET-FORELEGS.-Straight, with fair amount of bone; pasterns short and straight. FEET.-Fox-like; pad full and hard; well arched toes; strong nails.
DEFECTS.-Out at elbows; knees knuckled over forward or bent backward. Forelegs crooked. Feet long, open, or spreading.
HIPS, THIGHS, HINDLEGS, AND FEET-HIPS AND THIGHS.-Strong and well muscled, giving abundance of propelling power; stifles strong and well let down; hocks firm, symmetrical, and moderately bent; feet close and firm.
DEFECTS.-A long tail; teapot curve or inclined forward from propelling power; open feet. TAIL.-Set moderately high; carried gaily, with slight curve, but not turned forward over the back. It should have a good brush.
DEFECTS.-A long tail; teapot curve or inclined forward from the root; rat tail with absence of brush.
COAT.-A close, hard, hound coat of medium length. DEFECTS.-A short, thin coat or of a soft quality. HEIGHT.-Dogs should not be under twenty-one nor over twenty-four inches; bitches should not be under twenty nor over twenty-three inches, measured across the back at the point of the withers, the dog standing in a natural position with his feet well under him.
COLOR.-Any true hound color.
GENERAL APPEARANCE.-A typical hound, solid and strong, with the wear-and-tear look of the dog that can last in the chase and follow his quarry to the death.
VALUE OF POINTS.-Skull, 5; ears, 10; eyes, 5; muzzle, 5; neck, 5; chest and shoulders, 15; back, loins and ribs, 15; forelegs, 10; hips, thighs, and hindlegs, 10; feet, 10; coat, 5; stern, 5; Total, 100.