Sonny O'Donnell Huntsman. Photo © Catherine Power.

News & Events

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.)

Featured Article

'Some Breeding Thoughts on the Foxhound' by Roddy Bailey

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)]

Essential Elements

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.

Chance Breeding v Line Breeding

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.

What is meant by Line Breeding?

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).

[View full article (PDF)]

Example of a Line Bred Old English type foxhound. Waterford Panther ’09. Photo: R Markham.

Example of a Line Bred ‘Modernised’ Old English type foxhound. Sir Watkin Williams - Wynn’s Parker ’08. Photo: Richard Tyacke MFH

Example of a Line Bred Modern foxhound. VWH Smiler ’09 (Peterborough Bitch Champion 2010). Photo: Martin Scott & Jim Meads.

Recent & Forthcoming Events

Memoirs of a Foxhunting Photographer by Catherine Power

A collection of hunting photographs from the lens of Irish Field photographer Catherine Power was launched on the 26th of November at the Dunraven Arms. Running to 200 pages and covering well over twenty packs ranging from Scarteen, Duhallow, The Blazers all the way to the Ward Union it takes readers on a pictorial hunting tour. What a lovely Christmas present.

For further information and to order a copy please call Catherine on 086 2749540 or email

Carlow Farmers Huntsman Ado Moran (Left) and South Tyrone Huntsman Ryan Carvill in the final stages of the Doghound Championship with the winner South Tyrone Hardy ‘16 on the right. Carlow Farmers Belfry was Reserve. Photo © Siobhan English.


The eventual two couples bitches winners from Kildare. Whippers in Keith Barrett (left), Colin Barrett in white coat and Huntsman Peter Cahill. Photo © Catherine Power.

IMFHA Annual Show 2017

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)

For further information please contact David Lalor, Chairman, IMFHA on 087 254 2114 or email OR Entries Secretary, Roddy Bailey on 086 268 5895 or email

Carlow Farmers' Hunt Annual Charity Ride

Rathanna, Borris, County Carlow
Sunday, 8 October 2017 from 10.30am onwards

A beautiful ride through scenic Mount Leinster enjoying spectacular views while getting the thrill of jumping a broad range of natural and man-made fences all of which are optional and suitable for EVERY level of rider.

Refreshments available afterwards

Enquires to Joe on 087 6924119 (after 6pm) or
Bernie on 087 6637246 (after 6pm)s

Download our flyer (PDF format)

Waterford Country Fair and Hound Show

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.

Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show

Wednesday 19th July 2017 to be held at the East of England Showground Peterborough

Downloads: Masters Letter  -  Schedule  -  Entry Form  -  Statement Form  - 
The closing date for entries is the 9th June 2017.

For further information please contact Jeremy Staples, Secretary, Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society
T: + 44 (0)1733 363504 M: +44 (0)7817 668055 - Email -

Irish Pony Club - Hunting Horn Competition 2017 - Results

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"

Photo © Catherine Power.

Lalor elected Chariman of IMFHA

THE election of David Lalor as chairman of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association heralds a new order in the leadership of foxhunting in Ireland.

The IMFHA has been in existence since 1859 and is an all-Ireland body, representing the 49 registered packs of foxhounds in Ireland and playing both a regulatory and advisory role.

Lalor is the long-time master of the Laois Hunt, with which his family has been associated for several generations, and is the chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland (HAI).

He replaces Rupert Macauley of the West Wicklow Foxhounds, who has been chairman since 2012.

Lalor brings a wealth of knowledge to his role having served as vice chairman for 10 seasons. He comes from a farming background near Ballacolla and has hosted the National Ploughing Championships on his farm more than once.

Lalor has close associations with the main farming organisations, particularly the IFA, and he is also the main organiser of the National Hound Show, run annually at Stradbally Hall.

Lalor has close associations with the main farming organisations, particularly the IFA, and he is also the main organiser of the National Hound Show, run annually at Stradbally Hall.

Dickie Power, The Irish Field, 16.09.2017

Read the full article ...

In The News

'Hunting: Braving banks in good company'

Dickie Power takes to the field for a day's action with the Laois Foxhounds, The Irish Field, 05 February 2016   ... Read article

Horses... Masters of the hounds

An influx of new talent is helping rejuvenate the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association, the country’s oldest field sports body   Farm Ireland/, 17 July 2015 ... Read article

Stephen's Day hunts get bang for their bark on perfect day

Balmy weather provided the perfect conditions for St Stephen's day hunting., 27 December 2011   ... Read article

Lalor elected chairman of IMFHA

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