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.
The final trial was run by the entire two couples and a half of hounds, and with fifteen minutes' law to the quarry. Now that the snow had ceased, the pack quickly went along the right line down the hill and over the first fence. In the middle of the second field, some quarter of a mile from the start, Danger seemed at a loss, and, turning back to his owner who was following as fast as the deep snow would admit, somewhat disconcerted the other hounds, as they turned round to the voice of Mr. Pegler, who called his hound up. Higher up the field Beeswing appeared to be the one that struck the scent again, her voice attracting her kennel companions, who rattled along the correct track up to a hedge which lay to the left. The quarry had skirted this boundary line, and made his way down hill to a couple of hay stacks, or, at any rate, stacks of some kind. He had doubled along the road here, but hounds found him without the slightest difficulty.
Hunting and shooting men know scent is one of the mysteries of nature. Here we were out on a day when one might reasonably expect that hounds would be unable to run a hundred yards without a check. Still, all these bloodhounds, with their quarry given from seven to fifteen minutes' start, hit the line, and took it along at a "racing pace," it may be called, when the ten or eight inches of snow are taken into consideration. The keen north wind, too, must have been against scent, and one of the best trials of all was run in a blinding snowstorm. Surely, then, these bloodhounds have olfactory powers of more than average excellence; at any rate, that Monday they proved to us their possession of such. The men who acted as quarry had no knowledge of these hounds, no strongly smelling concoctions were smeared over their boots; and, indeed, they had been standing over the shoe tops in snow during the whole of the time the trials were taking place. So the "clean shoe" must in the end have been sadly water soaked. These bloodhounds did all we expected them to do, even more, and we are quite prepared to see the same hounds, under more favourable circumstances, hunt a man's trail or footsteps, though they be two hours old. Running singly, each hound was mute; together they gave tongue, and their voices were very fine. It may be interesting to state that, in their earlier training, with slight exceptions, including a hound or two he worked in Staffordshire about 1876, Mr. Brough's hounds have "run mute," whether hunting together or separately; but, working them with a noisy basset, they were tempted or encouraged to throw their voices, as they now do when hunting in company. Of course, bloodhounds vary in their voices, some being much more free in their use than others, and a bitch of Mr. Brough's called Brilliant was so fond of using hers, that, when running the line, she every now and then stopped, sat down for a few seconds, and poured forth the most charming melody, which she evidently enjoyed.
The trials arranged by the Kennel Club in 1889 were advertised to take place on the racecourse adjoining the Alexandra Palace on Wednesday morning, at 10.30. As it happened, when that hour was reached, the only one of the three judges present was Colonel Starkie, who a little later was joined by Lord Alfred Fitzroy. Then snow began to fall, few of the stewards were in the dog show, and the prospects seemed to favour an abandonment of the trials altogether. Up to 11.30 o'clock nothing had been decided upon, so Mr. Craven, with his couple of entered hounds, went home. Next it was officially stated that a decision would be come to at twenty minutes to one, and it was then resolved to hold the trials. The snow had by this time given place to rain; a cold, chilly wind blew from the south-west; and these combinations, with the addition of the wet, damp ground, upon which old snow lay three inches or more in depth, made the surroundings as unfavourable as they well could be.
Mr. Lindsay Hogg, in addition to the gentlemen already named, judged, but the duties were almost sinecures. Several tracks had been marked out by small flags, and, although these courses were said to be six hundred yards in length, they appeared considerably more - probably that distance straight away, with the run home additional. Each hound was allowed a track of his own, which extended along the racecourse for several hundred yards on the flat, over sundry lots of railings, winding round in the direction of a small plantation. The hounds had to pass this, and then enter the road on the run home.
The latter portion of the track was along the same line by each man who acted as the quarry, thus making the trials more difficult tests for the hound; though those that ran first must necessarily have had the advantage, as the latter part of the road was less foiled by one or two men than it would have been by half a dozen. Two stakes were provided, the one for the "clean boot," the other for the "not clean boot." The latter in this instance meant that the shoe soles of the man acting; as quarry had been rubbed with horseflesh, the only material at hand for the purpose. As a fact, the second stake never ought to have been arranged, and it is by no means to the credit of a bloodhound that he should require such assistance; the status of the trials was thus reduced to the commonplace "hound dog" trails, so popular in the rural districts of the North of England. As matters progressed, the bloodhounds actually hunted the clean boot better than they did the soiled one, and we would suggest that in future, when the "not clean boot" is to be run, terriers rather than bloodhounds should be utilised for the work.
However, in due course one of the keepers out of the show was despatched as quarry, with a start of ten minutes, during which time he traversed more than three-fourths of the course. Then the first hound, Mr. B. C. Knowles's Koodoo, was slipped. She struck the line immediately, but lost it after going about a hundred yards, and, casting round, hit the scent of some of the spectators, and, failing to persevere, was called up.