This section is from the book "A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Sporting Division)", by Rawdon Briggs Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: Sporting Division.
Colonel Cowen, until his much lamented death in 1895, kept a hound or two at Blaydon, near Newcastle; Mr. E. Brough, near Scarborough, is perhaps our greatest breeder; but good bloodhounds are also to be found in the kennels of Mr. H. C. Hodson, Lichfield; of Dr. Sidney Turner, Sydenham; of Mr. R. Hood Wright, Frome; of Miss F. E. Woodcock, West Norwood; of Mr. Walter Evans, Birchfield, Birmingham; of Mr. A. Bowker, Winchester; of Mr. A. O. Mudie, Herts; of Mr. F. Gibson, Hull; of Mr. J. Kidd, Dundee; of Mr. T. H. Mangin, Lymington; of Mr. F. de Paravicini, Oxford; and of Mr. M. H. Hills, near Birmingham.
Here mention must be made of the pack of bloodhounds, kept over twenty years ago by the late Lord Wolverton, who hunted the "carted" deer with them in Dorsetshire, in the Blackmore Yale country. These hounds, or most of them, originally came from Captain Roden, New Grove, co. Meath, who, about 1864, obtained several hounds, a couple or so coming from Hinks, of Birmingham, the well-known dealer. They were sold by Lord Wolverton to Lord Carrington, who had them but a single season, during which he showed sport in Buckinghamshire. From here they went into the kennels of Count Le Couteulx de Canteleu, in France (author of that excellent work, "Manuel de Venerie Francaise," a portion of which originally appeared in the Field in 1872), where they have been useful in hunting both wild deer and wild boar, and in crossing with many French varieties of the hound.
Prior to this, Mr. Selby Lowndes had several couples of bloodhounds in Whaddon Chase, where occasionally they had a run after deer. One of his hounds, named Gamester, bore a great reputation as a man-hunter, and on more than one occasion was useful in capturing thieves. This hound appears to have been a waif from some other kennel, for he was purchased from a hawker for £10, the latter using him as a protection, and to run under his van.
Then it is said, bloodhounds have been owned by the verderers in connection with the New Forest in Hampshire, but they were known as Talbots, and most of them were smaller than our modern hounds. Mr. T. Nevill had a small pack at Chilland, near Winchester, dark coloured hounds - black St. Hubert's they were called. A well-known writer in Bally's Magazine, gives a long description of them. It was said they would hunt anything, from "the jackal and the lordly stag, to the water-rat and such 'small deer.'" However, of late, bloodhounds have not proved so satisfactory as foxhounds for hunting deer, but, as stated further on, Mr. C. H. Wilson, master of the Oxenholme staghounds, is using the former as "crosses" to improve the voice of hounds, which have of late degenerated considerably in that respect. Bloodhounds will not stand rating, have to be kept free from excitement, allowed to hunt in their own slow, quiet way, and the excitement and "thrusting" of modern large fields are all against seeing the staid bloodhound at his best. At the present time there is no pack of bloodhounds kept in this country for hunting purposes; still, with the many admirers of the race, there is little fear of the strain being allowed to become of the past.
Thus our bloodhound has, in reality, suffered less from a craze to breed for certain exaggerated features than some other dogs have done. He is still a fairly powerful and large hound, with great thickness of bone, well sprung ribs, and considerable power behind. I rather fancy that, like most large-sized dogs, he fails more in his loins and hind legs than elsewhere, nor does he, as a rule, carry so much muscle as a foxhound. No doubt, in head and ears he has much improved since the time he was kept for the public good at the expense of the inhabitants on the Scottish borders.
Some of our modern English bloodhounds have been simply extraordinary in what are technically called "head" properties. Perhaps the finest hound in this respect was Captain Clayton's Luath XL, a fawn in colour, a huge specimen of his variety, weighing over 106 lb., but unfortunately spoiled by his execrable fore legs and feet. On the contrary, Mrs. Humphries' Don, that once did a considerable amount of winning, excelled in fore legs and feet, but was weak and straight in his pasterns; a very plain-headed hound, always much over estimated. Mr. E. Nichols had a dark-coloured hound, called Triumph, that excelled in head and ears, and perhaps there has been no better hound in this respect than Cromwell, by Nestor - Daisy, and bred by Mr. W. Nash in 1884. The head properties of this hound were so fine that on his death, in 1892, a model was taken of them by Sir Everett Millais, who had Crom-well in his kennels at the time. But here a list cannot be given of all the excellent bloodhounds that have made their appearance of late years, the dog-show catalogues afford a better selection than I could supply here, and the owners of the kennels named on a preceding page are certainly to be complimented on the progress they have made with the bloodhound, notwithstanding the difficulty to be surmounted in rearing the puppies.
Mr. Edwin Brough, no doubt the most experienced breeder of the present day, believes the modern bloodhound to be much speedier on foot than in the old days of the Mosstroopers, and there are now, in 1897, more really good bloodhounds to be found in this country than has ever been the case. Perhaps Bono, Bardolph, Burgundy, Barbarossa, Brunhilda, and Benedicta, from the Scarborough kennels, generally have never been excelled; and now, in 1897, the two latter, as Bono and Bardolph had done earlier on, often win the special cup awarded to the best dog in the show. Mr. H. C. Hodson's Rameses, Rollick, Romeo, and Rubric are all hounds of high class, and the names of several others equally good could easily be mentioned, including Mrs. Heyden's South Carolina, Mrs. C. Tinker's Dimple, and Mr. Bowker's Berengaria.
The pedigrees of our present bloodhounds have been well kept during the past generation or so, and their reliability in the Stud Book is undoubted.