Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The Running of the Hounds. Westminster KC 2015
I'm a dog fancier. I love dogs, most types anyway. Not so much the fru-fru dogs, those little furballs that some people tote around but 'real' dogs - terriers, setters, retrievers and, most of all, hound dogs. I love the hounds.
For the past forty years I've been a beagle guy. I've had a few. All of them have been great - hounds. I like to think of the beagle as the Steve McQueen of the canine world. Never comfortable with authority, an animal that takes the world strictly on its own terms. When a beagle receives a command from its owner it goes through a two-stage process. First it receives the command. Then it asks itself, "alright but what's in it for me?"
Most people know a beagle to see one but few understand what makes these hounds so unique. They've been around for many centuries. Some say they go back around 2,500 years.
There are those who say that a beagle cannot be trained. That is untrue. Thousands of years of careful breeding has produced a hound that is actually self-training. They train themselves in accordance with their own needs and values and, when their interests coincide with yours, you get to claim the credit for the result. Those who sow doubt as to the beagle's trainability are simply incapable of recognizing perfection.
We had a "beagle moment" yesterday when a BC-bred hound, "Miss P" took Best in Show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Our British Columbia hound is the grand-niece of Uno, who, in 2008, became the first beagle ever to win the top honour at the Westminster dog show.
Now, don't get me wrong. Miss P is a splendid looking hound and a deserving grand champion. That said she really doesn't rise to the standard of my current hound, Buddy. She's close, very close but she just doesn't have it all. I would never put Buddy in the show ring lest it ruin the hopes and aspirations of all other breeders in a giant collapse of their collective morale.
Last night was Miss P's last competition. She's 4-years old and she has a line to continue.