This book is about hounds, those great enthusiasts for the scents of the countryside and energetic companions of both sportsmen and discerning dog owners. Hounds is not a manual covering training, grooming, nutrition and dog care; it is very much a celebration of the hound’s contribution to the sporting and companion dog scene, an examination of their past, their performance and their prospects in an increasingly urban society.
David Hancock asks how we can save our unregistered native hound breeds, and whether we need a wider range of field trials. He tackles questions such as whether the Bloodhound is actually a British bred, and whether the Great Dane and the Dalmatian, and others, should be recognized as hounds. He looks at the breeding of hounds and at the relationship between the packs and the show ring, and suggests that the title of champion should be based on a lot more than merely appearance. He considers the competence of the judges both at hound shows and of hounds at dog shows. Lastly, he looks at whether the division of hounds into sighthounds and scenthounds is truly the best way to classify hounds, and whether it would benefit their genetic diversity if the Bloodhound types, show and pack, could be interbred (as in the 19th century).
In his usual forthright way, he challenges the often over-romanticized breed histories, questions the soundness of the hound breeds and asks for a greater awareness of their fundamental needs. Lavishly illustrated, with many of the illustrations being published for the first time, this comprehensive survey of the hound’s origins, its role and its future is essential reading for all those with an interest in these handsome and highly individual, stylish and admirably loyal hound breeds.
This is the fourth and final volume of David’s quarter on sporting dogs, following Sporting Terriers (2011), Sighthounds (2012) and Gundogs (2013), all published by Crowood.