THE HUMBERSIDE Hound Association Annual Teach-In was held on 5th May at the new Community Centre at Ferrybridge. There was a good attendance, not only from ‘hound’ people who enjoyed the informal ‘interest only’ experience, but people from other groups, too.
This year the featured breeds were Hamiltonstövare, Norwegian Elkhound and Bavarian Mountain Hound. All the speakers were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their breed and this came very much to the fore in each talk as, speaking about the nuances of the standard and answering questions for about half an hour, each speaker gave a profile and brief insight into their breed.
Michelle Longman spoke about the Hamiltonstövare and we are obliged to the Hamiltonstövare Club of Great Britain for the illustrated standards provided for those attending. Michelle told the audience that there are about 13 different breeds of Stövare used for hunting in the Scandinavian countries. In Sweden, the Hamiltonstövare are the most popular - as a working dog they are mainly used on hare and fox and have been selectively bred with the strength and stamina to hunt in dense forests and in deep snow. They are not a ‘weedy’ dog, they are a strong long-legged hound and can hunt for long periods.
In Swedish trials they are expected to hunt for two hours, giving tongue. A huntsman has to be fit and with plenty of endurance if he wished to follow them - which is not usually the case. The Hamiltonstövare is a ‘rectangular’ dog with distinctive markings as laid down in the standard, and it is these markings which denote the ‘Hamilton’ Stovare; however, judges should be aware that puppies are born with the white markings but not the tan, this gradually comes through as the puppy gets older and in some lines can take several years. Movement needs to be ‘easy’ with a free and long reaching stride. The tail is set on high, being (almost) a continuation of the back; it should not, however, be carried high when moving. It can be carried straight out or lifted slightly in a curve (sabre fashion) and there must always be a curlicue of white hairs at the tip.
The standard of the Norwegian Elkhound was demonstrated by Robert Greaves. This is a powerful dog which ‘fits’ into a square outline. As the name implies the breed is used to hunt elk. They will track over hard terrain, sometimes for days at a time and will hold an elk at bay by barking and dodging until the hunter is in position to kill it. This breed should show no aggression or nervousness and can be a powerful guard dog, they are loyal and dignified. The Elkhound is required to be short coupled but never short in the rib cage and the level topline should be retained on the move. Feet are quite small when compared to other hounds but definitely should still be tight and well padded. Coat colour deviations can be found as very dark or slightly cream or silver and there should, definitely, be no brown patches. A black line from the corner of the eye towards the ear is desirable but combined with black around the eyes (like a pair of spectacles) is definitely not desirable. Neither is a ‘sootiness’ of coat on the legs - which tends to look black.
Bavarian Mountain Hound
Following an excellent supper, provided by the ladies of the Humberside Hound Association committee, the Bavarian Mountain Hound was introduced to the interested audience. Ann Marie Hill and her companions gave quite an insight into the breed and questions from the audience came thick and fast. Two male dogs demonstrated the diversity of type within the breed. Males are not tolerant of other males and this was demonstrable! A bitch, littermate to one of the dogs, illustrated the definite difference between the sexes. The breed is used (and expected) to track a cold blood scent of up to 72 hours old - even more in some cases. The ear leathers should be no longer than the end of the nose but some of the continental huntsmen prefer a longer leather to ‘contain’ the scent. As a breed they have a lovely temperament (having been bred to live with one person or family) but they are a stubborn breed and can think! They are also very vocal and attention-seeking. They can be very wary of strangers and very antisocial. At the present time, they are not really a ‘show dog’ in that they cannot be ‘set-up’ in a particular ‘stance’ for a judge to examine - and judges are asked to let the dogs relax and stand in their own way until they get used to the idea!
In this country the breed is mostly used by gamekeepers for tracking road-injured deer, the hound is held on a very long leather leash and the hound will walk at a pace where they can lead the gamekeeper and handler with a gun to the injured animal. They generally hold a deer at bay if they ‘find’ an uninjured one. They can also be used on boar. When working, the tails are carried low and sickle-shaped. The average litter is 7 to 10 puppies and they take a long time to mature. A fully mature and well muscled male will weigh about 77lb. Generally this breed matures around three years of age.
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