The Foxhound as a breed can be traced back well over 300 years, and indeed the pedigree of some of the OSBWK hounds can be traced back nearly this far.
Foxhounds are pack animals and have been bred to hunt by scent. They have tremendous stamina and can easily cover over 60 miles in a good day! Some hounds can do this two or three times a week through the season, meaning they will run many thousands of miles each year.
Our hounds are fed on raw flesh which is collected from our farmers. On average we collect nearly 10 carcasses a day throughout the year - that is 3500 a year. And we are only one hunt! Different sorts of flesh are beneficial in different ways to the hounds, with most meat being calf or bullocks and horses.
The leftovers and inedible parts of the animals are incinerated in specially built chambers, all in compliance with ever mounting DEFRA regulations. Regular upgrades and additional works are carried out to the flesh house which are inspected regularly by DEFRA officials.
There are 5 main types of Foxhound:
The OSBWK hounds are a mixture of Old and Modern English.
Each huntsman has his own preferred type of hound, and each type of hound has its own merits - for example the Welsh voice is said to be the best, the Old English the best for poor scenting. A lot is also down to the individual hound and any huntsman will be able to point out the good and not so good points of each hound.
Every summer each pack holds its Puppy Show where the coming years entry are judged by visiting Masters and hunstmen. This day is a thank you from the Masters and huntsmen to all of the people who have walked puppies and is a big social event in the hunting year.
In addition to puppy shows there are a series of Hound Shows across the country, starting with the South of England Hound show at Ardingly. The ultimate accolade is to win at Peterborough in July - although all huntsmen will tell you that it is how the hound hunts more than how it looks that is the ultimate goal in breeding!
Hounds as pets
NO! Quite simply it will not happen. Hounds are pack animals, not pets. Very occasionally a hound will retire to a private home, but it is a very rare event. The RSPCA have promised to re-home any hounds requested, but in their first test failed to find a single home for a dozen hounds which they were asked to deal with.
A hounds lavatorial habits will not make it a welcome addition to the hearth rug! It will likely pine and sing for its colleagues - and at three in the morning a hound can make a lot of noise! The hunting instinct is very strong and will likely take the hound on a vanishing run at the first opportunity.Having said all of this, hounds in kennels where they belong, are the happiest of creatures. They are without doubt the most loved and best looked after of any dogs. They are exercised every day, well fed and watered and receive regular attention from the hunt staff. And best of all they go out and do what they love so much several times a week - Oh to be a hound!
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