English Foxhound Breed Magazine - Showsight

English Foxhounds

The English Foxhound Today By Andrea Bradford, MD

Today, as has been true historically, the majority of English Foxhounds are regis- tered with the Master of Foxhounds in working packs. For AKC, registrations are few, the dogs that are shown in the conformation ring are fewer, and the breed is a low entry breed. Despite this, there have been a few outstanding speci- mens who were also outstanding show dogs, and happily represented the breed over the years. English Foxhounds can be great pets, and some do compete in obedience, rally and agility, though they are a true hound and present many of the challenges seen with the other hounds in performance events. The breed also has some repre- sentation in therapy dog work. The English Foxhound is primarily a hunting hound, and as such may not be as co- operative with conformation ring proce- dure as one would like (see the article on temperament). Historically, there were two types acknowledged within the breed. The Peterborough Hound (see History of the Breed) was a heavier hound with a ten- dency to knuckle over, while other hounds were more “racy” and con- tributed to the American Foxhound and the Coonhounds. The true to type English retains many characteristics of the Peterborough hound, while maintain- ing soundness and ability to work in the field all day. The AKC English Foxhound standard was adopted in 1935 with a few minor changes from the Master of Foxhounds standard for the breed. Breed aficionados are adamant about not making changes to the Standard, so much so that the English Foxhound Club of America formed in response to an AKC effort to change the Standard. This means there is still some terminology within the Standard which today requires explana- tion. For example, the “stern” is the tail, and the “horn” are the toenails. The Standard also retains a scale of points, which makes it very clear that the prima-

ry focus is on structure of the dog which will enable it to work in the field. The highest number of points (20) go to the legs and feet. Legs should be straight as a post and as strong, with lit- tle if any bend to the stifle when standing. Bone should be substantial and round, which is an important differentiator for the English Foxhound. There should not be bladed bone in this breed. The ankles should be a continuation of the leg, remaining substantial – no dainty ankles! Feet should be round and catlike – anoth- er significant difference from their American cousins. If knuckling over is seen in an English Foxhound, it should be considered a serious fault. The next highest number of points (15) go to the back and loin. The topline of the English Foxhound, from the with- ers to the set on of the tail, should be absolutely level – like an ironing board. The back and loin should be very mus- cular running into each other without any noticeable change from back to loin. There should be noticeable width to the loin. The underline of the English Foxhound should also be nearly level, with little if any tuck up. The hindquarters, shoulders, neck and chest and back ribs each are accord- ed 10 points in the Standard. The hindquarters should be very strong, with angulation in the front and rear match- ing. Endurance in this breed is desired over speed, so much so that straight sti- fles are preferred over extreme angula- tion in the hindquarters, but overall bal- ance and working ability are the desired result. The shoulders should be well laid back, with a long upper arm, and mus- cular, but not overdone (no fat), with the neck , long (at least 10 inches), clean (no hint of dewlap), tapering from the shoul- ders to the head, with a slight arch. The chest should girth 31 inches in a 24 inch hound. This is depth of chest, not a bar- rel-chested hound. Rib spring should be moderate, and ribs should extend well back, with the majority of the length of

the hound being ribs. The head, elbows, stern and symmetry each are accorded 5 points in the Standard. The head is described as full size but not heavy, with a girth of fully 16 inches in front of the ears, and the muz- zle should be wide with a length of about 4 1/2 inches. Nostrils should be large and open. Ears should be set low and close to the face. Bite should be level or scissors, with overshot or undershot a dis- qualification. The elbows should be set on straight, turning neither in nor out. The tail should come directly off the level topline, with no slope to the croup, and should be carried gaily, but never over the back, squirrel-like, or curled over the topline. Symmetry and quality are of great importance and result from appro- priate structure. The color of the English Foxhound is of little importance as long as it is a “good hound color”, defined as “black, tan and white, or any combination of these three, also the various “pies” com- pounded of white and the color of the hare and badger, or yellow, or tan.” The coat should be “short, dense, hard and glossy”. The English Foxhound fancy within AKC has imported dogs from England and Australia, as well as bringing the occasional dog into the AKC registry from the packs that exist here in the United States. Many of our great show dogs have been the result of breeding these imports and pack dogs, and some few of the pack dogs have been great show dogs. Because there are so few shown, there is always concern that the quality of breed type must be maintained and that judges pay close attention to the Standard and not judge the English Foxhound as a “generic dog”, with the resultant emphasis on rear angulation and tremendous reach and drive. It is always a thrill to see an English Foxhound with bone and substance and the easy, all day gait that would serve well in the field. ■


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