by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 3, 2009)
Originally fox hunting did not come under the category of sport, rather it was practiced for the purpose of ridding sections of the country of what was supposed to be a species of destructive vermin. The sole idea was to kill the fox, and the methods employed were in wide variance with the sometimes formal, but always sportsmanlike, field ethics with which the fox is hunted in England and America today. Coverts or sections of woods were surrounded by nets and the fox driven into them without any thought of giving him a fair chance for his life.
Fox hunting in England followed stag hunting. Gradually it became recognized as a sport and followers began to pay more attention to the type of hounds used. The larger hounds were not needed, but a faster, smaller dog was desired. A number of crosses were undoubtedly used before the English Foxhound became an established type. It is more than likely that all of the English hounds were derived from French hounds. Four types of French hounds were described in writing during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. These were known as The White, used principally for stag hunting; The Fallow, used on all sorts of game, mainly the stag; The Dun, to be found more frequently than any other hound breed and good on any game; and The Black or St. Hubert's, of many colors and no doubt the forbears of the Bloodhound and the Southern Hound.
Since the days when fox netting was abandoned and fox-hunting became the sport of the English aristocracy, the English Foxhound has played an important part in the country life of England's gentry. Many organized Foxhound packs throughout England have made English hunting tradition.
The English Foxhound is of stouter build than the American. The English Foxhound is a versatile dog that can be trained to hunt almost any ground game. He is still very much used in foxhunting. His stamina, good nose and determination make him a prized companion in the field.
The males are usually between twenty-one to twenty-three inches while the female between nineteen to twenty-two inches. They are measured across the back at the point of the withers. The English Foxhound comes in a variety of colors ranging from black tan or white, with any combination of the three.
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