HOUND

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HOUND (cams sagax, L.). The hound forms one of the varieties of spaniels, and is distinguished by its long, smooth and pendulous ears. The bloodhound (q. v.) has already been described, and appears to have been the origin of the other subvarieties, the principal of which are the foxhound, harrier and beagle. England, perhaps, excels all other countries in her breed of hounds, not only from the climate being congenial to them, but also from the great attention paid to their breeding and management. The points of a good hound are thus laid down:His legs should be perfectly straight, his feet round and not too large, his shoulders back, his breast rather wide than narrow, his chest deep, his back broad, his head small, his neck thin, his tail thick and bushy. As to the size, most sportsmen have their prejudices, some preferring them small, and others large; for general service, however, it appears that a medium is the best; this is the sentiment of Somerville:" For hounds of middle size, active and strong, Will better answer all thy various ends, And crown thy pleasing labors with success."It is very essential that all the hounds in a pack should run well together; to attain which they should be of the same sort and size. The management of hounds may be considered as a regular system of education, from the time they are taken into the kennel. The feeding of a kennel of foxhounds is one of the most striking illustrations of the power of training to 38* produce complete obedience. The feeder stations himself at the door, and calls each dog individually; the animal instantly ad vances ; the rest, however impatient they may be, remaining quiet till their turn arrives. In these kennels, a barbarous custom of these dogs towards each other has sometimes been observed. If a hound gets down of his own accord from a bench on which he has been lying, no notice is taken of it by the others; but if he should unfortunately fall from the bench by accident, his companions fly at him and worry him to death. The beagle is the smallest of the dogs kept for the chase, and is only used in hunting the hare, and, though far inferior in speed to that animal, will follow, by its exquisite scent, with wonderful perseverance, till it fairly tires the hare. The harrier differs from the beagle in being somewhat larger, as well as more nimble and vigorous; they are also used almost exclusively in the chase of the hare. One of the most extraordinary hunts of this animal took place in England some years since, showing the perseverance of her pursuers. After a hard chase of 16 miles, the timid creature, finding herself closely pushed by the dogs, took to the sea, and, being followed by the whole pack, after braving the ocean for near a quarter of a mile, fell a sacrifice to her stanch pursuers, and was brought safe on shore by one of them.