2016 was an eventful year for the IMFHA with David Lalor, Master of the Laois Hunt, taking over as Chairman, replacing Rupert Macauley of the West Wicklow Foxhounds, who was chairman from 2012-2016. This year's events include the IMFHA Annual Show which will be held on the 2nd July 2017, as part of the National Hound Show at Stradbally Hall. (Scroll down for further information and to download the entry form and class schedule.)
I hope these pointers help huntsmen throughout Ireland. Many of these ideas were learnt from foxhunters far and wide but special place must be given to Kilkenny born Tom Cody of the Bramham Moor. Rarely was a professional huntsman ‘of the old school’ more forgiving of a boy on a bicycle. It is often interesting to read of other people’s experiences and maybe these thoughts might be informative as well. Some may disagree with parts. Healthy debate helps the sport we all love and there is no blue print for breeding hounds.
Many hunting friends helped me with these suggestions although the content is my fault entirely.
Roddy Bailey. [View full article (PDF)]
In order to breed any pack of hounds the following elements are essential:
• To breed a pack of hounds first secure the support of the person looking after them.
• Have an accurate hound list showing all hounds in the kennel by age, sex, sire and dam. A summary by year and sex is usually necessary. See sample.
• Have a list of all the bitches showing their date of previous ‘seasons’ and the date when each bitch is forecast next to come into season.
• Maintain all the pedigrees of each hound to at least six generations. See the ‘line bred’ example illustrated.
• Have access to the British MFHA Hound Breeding web site and learn to use the ‘trial mating’ option (Username and password needed). All foxhounds bred in Ireland are in the British maintained Foxhound Kennel Stud Book which is the source for the MFHA web site.
• Know the type of hound the huntsman/handler prefers ie Modern or ‘Old English’ foxhound.
• Know the foxhound tradition of the kennel ie Modern or ‘Old English’ foxhound.
• Have a secure kennel with continuity in hunt management.
Without the above the hound breeder cannot begin.
Note: These thoughts are mostly confined to the Stud Book Foxhound (Modern or ‘Old English’) although the principles apply to other working hounds.
Many hunts select a good doghound and a good bitch and use them. This method can produce an odd good foxhound but it is ‘chance breeding’. You end up with a pack of individuals and their conformation faults mean more hounds have to be kept to cover frequent lameness and the pack tends to be less effective in the field. The aim of the hound breeder is to produce a ‘level’ (ie uniform make and shape) pack of hounds that are athletic and work as a team. Hound colour should play no part unless the kennel wishes to maintain a ‘colour’ tradition. The better their conformation the less the hound takes out of itself. Therefore it is able to continue effectively when other hounds are tired often producing successful hunts at the end of a four hour hunting day. The breeder should use hounds with qualities of nose, cry, stamina, fox sense, temperament and drive and this requires breeding from known hounds with these requisite characteristics. Such ‘known’ hounds need not be current performers; the breeder may wish to breed back to hounds of the past whose families were renowned foxhounds. Moreover such athletic hounds have the ability to turn out two or three times a week and their soundness means they rarely go lame. An economic advantage of a pack of well put together hounds is the hunt need not keep so many hounds since soundness results in fewer hounds being lame. There is no point in keeping a hound that can only go out once a week. The way to produce this all round athletic team of hounds with good qualities hunting two or three days a week is by line breeding not chance breeding. Line breed for work and voice, breed more than you want to allow some selection and get them as good looking as possible.
Line breeding is a form of close breeding and therefore great care must be taken by the breeder. How do we go about doing this? The most important part when selecting a hound to breed from is that he/she and all the family must be good workers. It follows that kennels should not breed from a hound that is too young (nor too old).
The Foxhound Show attracted an entry of 19 packs and was well attended many people from all over Ireland. The judging was of a high order and both teams demonstrated how hound judging should be done. Some thought the doghounds were probably not as good as the bitches. The Louth unentered litter (Racer, Ranger, Racket & Ration - home bred by Randle ’12 out of Tipsey ’13) were outstanding; the best example of their type seen for some time. The two couple bitches were the best class of the day and arguably the most important to win. Any one of the four prize winners would enhance any kennel. The South Tyrone exuded consistent quality. The Carlow Farmers had some good unentered doghounds and hopefully they will produce some high class bitches in the future. The strength of any kennel is the bitches and full marks to the Ballymacad and West Wicklow for pursuing that goal. The South Union proved the two couple class is where the rosettes should be and the presence of the Tynan & Armagh was most welcome. Given a bit of time they will be in the money. It is believed this was their first trip to this ring since records began. The stallion hound class winner was North Cotswold Downton ’15 (shown by the Tipperary) and is clearly a worthy sire. The winning brood bitch was the home bred Kildare Daley ’13 and a good example from this famous kennel.
South Tyrone Hardy ’16 claimed the Doghound Championship (having been Unentered Champion last year) with Carlow Farmers Belfry the Reserve. To finish the day the Bitch Championship was awarded to Ballymacad Mantra ’16 (from the two couples class) with the unentered South Tyrone Rascal in Reserve.
All expressed their appreciation to the Cosby family for the use of Stradbally Park and to the Laois Hunt for doing the ‘heavy lifting’ that makes the event happen. The ring looked immaculate thanks to Show Chairman David Lalor’s team and their supporters. The amended schedule (which included the new two couples class for doghounds) was considered a success by exhibitors.
Download: IMFHA Show Results 2017 (PDF format)
This year's Hound Show at Curraghmore takes place on the 11th June, starting at 12 pm.
Entered Dog - Entered Bitch - Unentered dog - Unentered bitch
Couple of unentered dogs - Couple of unentered bitches
Brood bitch - Stallion hound - Champion Dog - Champion Bitch - Overall Champion
There will be an Old English ring and a Modern ring.
Wednesday 19th July 2017 to be held at the East of England Showground Peterborough
For further information please contact Jeremy Staples, Secretary, Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society
T: + 44 (0)1733 363504 M: +44 (0)7817 668055 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org - www.festivalofhunting.com
For the McCalmont Trophy
Won in 2016 by Meadbh Scally, Westmeath Hunt Branch
1st: Ronan Molony, Kildare Hunt Branch
2nd: Paul Hart, Kildare Hunt Branch
3rd: Jack Lucy, Muskerry Hunt Branch
4th: Meadbh Scally, Westmeath Hunt Branch
Joint 5th: David Russell, Scarteen Hunt Branch & Bill Reidy-Leahy, Scarteen Hunt Branch
6th: Lauren Cole, Westmeath Hunt Branch
"Gone Away" – "Going Home" – "Gone to Ground"
Dickie Power takes to the field for a day's action with the Laois Foxhounds, The Irish Field, 05 February 2016 ... Read article
An influx of new talent is helping rejuvenate the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association, the country’s oldest field sports body Farm Ireland/independent.ie, 17 July 2015 ... Read article
Balmy weather provided the perfect conditions for St Stephen's day hunting. independent.ie, 27 December 2011 ... Read article
David Lalor will take over as chairman of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association, reports Dickie Power. The Irish Field, 30 September 2016 ... Read article