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.
Mr. W. J. Scott's Hebe III., a smart bitch, likewise picked up the line quickly, and, running it a little too much to windward, was at a loss for a moment. She cast well, and without assistance struck the scent, and kept it until she turned the corner at the plantation and out of sight of the spectators. For a time Hebe tried to regain the lost line, and looked like doing so until catching the wind of a labourer, and rather startling him by making his passing acquaintance. She failed to finish her task.
Mr. R. Hood Wright's well-known Hector II., who had performed well at the trials in the grounds at Warwick Castle two years before, and now nearly eight years old, was, after the stipulated five minutes, put upon the line. He did not start with so much dash as the bitch had done, carried his head nearer the ground, and ran the exact line the quarry had taken. This he did well, and the manner in which he leaped those railings the man had climbed, and ran under those he had crept through, interested the spectators not a little. There was no mistake as to the correctness of his nose up to the plantation; but here, where the quarry had turned, the hound was at fault. He cast about till striking the line again, and was hard on the track of the man on turning into the road home. This he stuck to until near the goal, when he became somewhat disconcerted, no doubt striking the wind of the spectators as he approached them. His trial was very nicely run.
Mrs. Danger's Jaff was absent, and Mr. E. Brough's Blueberry strangely refused to run, though what we saw of her work on Monday proved her an excellent bitch, and her owner considered her about his best. Mr. Brough's Barnaby, mentioned earlier on, went quicker along the line the runner had taken than Hector had done, and, like him, cleared or went under the railings according to the mode the quarry had adopted. Just before reaching the plantation Barnaby lost the scent, but cast to the right and left until it was struck again. He, too, was a considerable time out of sight behind the plantation, but on reappearing in the road he was running the line of the man, which he continued much as Mr. Wright's hound had done, failing to quite come up to the winning post for similar reasons.
Dr. Hales Parry's Primate was absent, so the end of the stake was reached, there being four of the nine entries that failed to meet their engagement. The judges awarded the prizes as follows: First, Mr. R. H. Wright's Hector II.; second, Mr. E. Brough's Barnaby; third, Mr. W. J. Scott's Hebe III.; the fourth, of course, being withheld. There was little to choose between the first two, for both ran excellent trials, considering the unfavourable surroundings, and afforded ample proof, even to the incredulous, that the bloodhound will hunt a man without even smelling any part of his person or clothes until laid on the track of his footsteps.
The second stake is of no account whatever, being that already alluded to, where the men acting as quarry had their shoe soles smeared with raw horseflesh. It was, however, thought that three competitors of the five entries would run well, so the time was taken, and Koodoo, who did badly on the "clean boot," now ran a brilliant course at a good pace, going the distance, including a check behind the wood, in five minutes. Hebe III. and Hector II. both began well, but, losing the line at about three-fourths the distance, failed to regain it, and were called up. They were awarded equal seconds, Mr. Knowles's Koodoo taking premier honours.
So much for the bloodhound trials; and now, when writing in 1897, they appear to have been entirely discontinued, at any rate so far as public exhibitions of them are concerned.
With the introduction of dog shows the general public were enabled to see how far the bloodhound survived, and the early exhibitions held at Birmingham always included two nicely filled classes of this dog, which many persons believed to be almost extinct.
"Stonehenge," writing in 1869, says:
Until within the last twenty-five years, or thereabouts, the bloodhound has been almost entirely confined to the kennels of the English nobility; but at about that distance of time Mr. Jennings, of Pickering, in Yorkshire, obtained a draft or two from Lord Feversham and Baron Rothschild, and in a few years, by his skill and care, produced his Druid and Welcome, a magnificent couple of hounds, which he afterwards sold, at what was then considered a high price, to Prince Napoleon for breeding purposes. In the course of time, and probably from the fame acquired by these dogs at the various shows, his example was followed by his north-country neighbours, Major Cowen and Mr. J. W. Pease, who monopolised the prizes of the show bench with successive Druids, descended from Mr. Jennings' dog of that name, and aided by Draco, Dingle, Dauntless, etc, all of the same strain. In 1869, however, another candidate for fame appeared in Mr. Holford's Regent, a magnificent dog, both in shape and colour, but still of the same strains, and, until the appearance of Mr. Reynold Ray's Roswell in 1870, no fresh blood was introduced among the first-prize winners at our chief shows. The dog, who died in 1877, maintained his position for the same period almost without dispute, and even in his old age it took a good dog to beat him.
About 1860, Lord Bagot, of Blithefield, near Stafford, had some very fine hounds, and was successful with both the dogs and bitches he put on the benches at the National Show in Curzon Hall.
Coming down to the present time, there are perhaps more admirers of the bloodhound than at any previous period of its history. Dog shows have, no doubt, popularised him; and, well cared for and well treated, made a companion of instead of being kept chained in a kennel or in a dark cellar, he has lost most of his natural ferocity, and is quite as amiable as any other variety of the canine race.