Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2024

The Centennial Hound Show Crowned The Champions Of Champions

From a field of 66 outstanding candidates, eight exemplary foxhounds were selected as the best representatives of their breed at the Centennial Championship Hound Show, held on May 27 in Leesburg, Va.

The champion dogs and bitches in each breed category—American, Penn-Marydel, English and Crossbred—from each of the Foxhound Club of North America sanctioned hound shows across the nation came together in a memorable contest. They represented the crème de la crème of the breeding programs of recognized foxhunts on the continent.
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From a field of 66 outstanding candidates, eight exemplary foxhounds were selected as the best representatives of their breed at the Centennial Championship Hound Show, held on May 27 in Leesburg, Va.

The champion dogs and bitches in each breed category—American, Penn-Marydel, English and Crossbred—from each of the Foxhound Club of North America sanctioned hound shows across the nation came together in a memorable contest. They represented the crème de la crème of the breeding programs of recognized foxhunts on the continent.

According to Lynn Dillard, an officer with FCNA who chaired the event, “These are Centennial hounds and will represent what our generation of foxhunters consider to be the benchmark conformation of their breed of foxhounds. It is a snapshot in time.”

The FCNA is part of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, which hosted the Centennial events. “The show was open only to breed champions from the 10 sanctioned shows, so there was a potential for 80 hounds in the four divisions,” Dillard said.

Potomac’s American Hounds Prevail
The best of the best in the American division went to Potomac Hunt (Md.), which walked away with top honors for both dog and bitch. It highlighted a weekend where the Potomac Hounds seemed to outclass even themselves, a tribute to the persistence of the breeding program overseen by professional huntsman Larry Pitts.

Ring judge Cindy Martin (ex-MFH Los Altos Hounds [Calif.]) talked about the decision that was reached between John J. Carle II (ex-MFH Keswick Hunt [Va.]) and herself in awarding Potomac Jefferson ’05 (Potomac Rapidan ’99—their Jezebel ’00) and Jipsy ’01 (Potomac Warcloud ’96—their Jodi ’97) the coveted prizes.

“Jefferson is a very big American hound, which is a good thing,” Martin said. “He is a beautiful mover and his feet are flawless. His legs are very correct; he has reach in the front end and strength in the hind end. He shows himself very, very well—he’s got presence. He is very well put together.

“Jipsy shows her age and is not as lean but moves beautifully,” Martin continued. “Her feet are really good and tight and strong; no toes are starting to go after six seasons hunting and serving as a brood bitch.”

Martin emphasized that the judges were looking for conformation, which lends itself to longevity in a working hound. “Both Potomac hounds have tremendous size for American hounds, but not to the point you would mistake them for another breed. They have good size, good muscling, look athletic and move in an athletic way,” she said. “We looked at the six nicest American bitches in the world so you get to splitting hairs. It was exciting and lovely to see.”

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“The American hound has made a lot of progress. Their feet are better than they were and it’s good that people are recognizing that the gene pool has really become small. We need to preserve this great line that’s out there by perpetuating and expanding the American gene pool,” Martin said.

“In the future, there needs to be a commitment to maintain well-built hounds that hunt well and have longevity. We need to track down the lines that may have become scarce and not be afraid to experiment a little bit to broaden the gene pool,” Martin added. “These were the nicest American dogs and bitches and wasn’t it a privilege? Let’s not change it but keep it going. They are unique to this country and a treasure.”

Shakerag Sequel Comes First
In Penn-Marydel Hounds Top honors in the Penn-Marydel division went to dog hound Shakerag Sequel ’05 (Shakerag Rebate ’99—their Sally ’99) from Georgia and the lovely bitch Marlborough Gossip ’06 (Tanheath Nick ’98—Golden’s Bridge Gabby ’99) from Maryland.

Ring judge Richard Harris (MFH and huntsman for Huntington Valley Hunt [Pa.) explained that he and fellow judge Liz McKnight, MFH Elkridge-Harford Hunt (Md.) were “looking for the traditional Penn-Marydel traits, starting with the head, low-set ears and an established type,” he said.

The Penn-Marydel is a distinct type of American hound that was developed with unique characteristics.

“The entry this time was very strong; what we lacked in quantity we had in quality,” Harris said.
In judging the two finalist dogs, “the Marlborough hound [Jockey ’03] was a better performer on the line, but on the boards [Shakerag Sequel] was better,” he said.

“I feel that we are getting closer to the standard and getting more quality in the breed. News of the Penn-Marydel is spreading and the breeding is spreading,” Harris said. “In the future we need to try for a little more standardization and keep it pure. It shouldn’t be crossed with a Crossbred or we will lose that wonderful disposition and type we love.”

Littermates Win English Hound Honors
After much thoughtful consideration, Dr. G. Marvin Beeman (MFH Arapahoe Hunt [Colo.]) selected two unentered littermates from Live Oak Hounds (Fla.) as top dog and bitch.

“What I try to do is assess the relationship of form to function. I try to keep that in mind. There are some French veterinarians that talk about levers, angles and lengths [of bone] and how it all boils down to make it work. Of course, you have to keep in mind the other biological systems and then you try to figure out the relationship of these in order to allow the animals to do their job. With a championship class like this you get to see those really good hounds and it’s fun. But, you need to decide which hounds will be the best athletes,” he said. He shared the ring with Irvin L. Crawford II (MFH Potomac Hounds [Md.]).

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Champion Live Oak Dasher (Live Oak Digger ’02—their Asset ’03),“had a better total relationship of form to function in five categories [head-neck-body-balance, front limb, rear limb, way of going and type] and fit well,” Beeman said.

“The thing about those hounds that affects you is that you know how well they hunt,” he added. Dasher’s littermate, Dazzle, won the bitch class.

Beeman likes the English hound of today. “Their overall balance is better. They have longer shoulders, longer femurs for driving power and are a more capable athlete. I think the English hounds are much better now. Before, some were too wide in the chest and had too long scapulas and the levers were not as efficient. The way the shoulder rotates is important in its movement,” he said.

“I believe we are moving in the right direction [with breeding] as long as we keep what hounds are doing in mind. I don’t take the job of judging lightly,” he added.

The Crossbred Hound Is Changing
The trophy for champion Crossbred dog went to Midland Marco ’04 (Midland Kipper ’02—their Model ’99) from Georgia, while the Live Oak brood bitch Asset ’03 (Live Oak Ardent ’98—their Dusty ’98) claimed the matching prize.

“These were two very, very nice hounds,” said judge J.W.Y. Martin (MFH Green Spring Valley Hounds [Md.]) who shared the ring with Ann Hughston (MFH Tryon Hounds [N.C.]).

“They had been champions in other shows and were the best representations of their breed. It just came down to picking the best of the best,” he said. “The bitch had produced two champions herself and qualified into the class as a brood bitch.

“There were more Crossbreds than any other hounds,” Martin added, “Over the years, Crossbred hounds are changing to a larger hound because they are chasing coyote instead of fox. So, it’s becoming a coyote hound. The change that I’ve noticed is that they are bigger, with a bigger stride and running faster because they’re chasing a different quarry.”

The FCNA plans to publish a book of Centennial hounds which will contain 8″ x 10″ pictures of all 66 hounds and their pedigrees.

Donna Ross

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