Underestimated and misunderstood - The Hounds

Joey Day 1
Joey Day 1 | Source
Joey Day 1
Joey Day 1 | Source
Joey shortly before he went to his new home to be the best friend of a little boy.
Joey shortly before he went to his new home to be the best friend of a little boy. | Source

They are fantastic as family pets!

My first Hound was Joey. I had always shied away from taking a hunting dog into my home. I had cats after all. But Joey kind of... grew on me.

I was going home from the shelter I volunteered at and saw this horrible looking creature licking trash of the road... almost getting run over twice! Me being me...
Turned out he belonged to some worthless scum with docents of dogs tight in the backyard. Yes, after a safe period of time I called animal control on him.

Joey was skin and bones with a obvious old injury from a 'car accident'; probably from trying to find food! I spare you the millions of curses and threats I silently made against that bastard! Yes, I feel very strongly about certain things!

Joey was brindle. First I thought Pit, but he turned out this tall and lean creature with the long face of the Plott-Hound. And it didn't take but a few meals to turn this skeleton into a beauty!

For those of you who overlook a black or brindle dog... You are blind!

Joey had this beautiful mix of Peanut Butter and German Schockolade! He was stunningly beautiful and even my camera must have had a few speechless moments! Awwwwww

For the longest time nobody wanted to adopt this pup, but a little boy picked him out. I haven't spoken to them in over two years, but they seemed the kind of people that stood up to what they belief in. Sadly this rescue I used to volunteer at has a bad history of not following up with their charges! Supposedly their care is for life... but many of us belief it ends when the check is cashed!

Joey was perfect as a family member. He did have a bit of a hunting instinct but held back because he loved us. My cats were safe and he was more interested in our love! I still miss him... a lot!

I don't know who came next, Joy or Buddy...

Buddy was in worse condition than Joey! When I caught him on the medium on I-87 he was a wrack! He weight 27 lbs as a full-grown American Foxhound! Holly Shit!

I took him home and spend the next days feeding him every two hours with small portions. He had the appetite and the small portions prevented nausea. I could see every ounce of my effort show on him. At the vet a dog his breed, age and size weight 65 lbs two weeks after I found him and got him his shots. Buddy came in at that time with 35 lbs!

When he was neutered a few weeks later he weight in at 60 lbs and I cried and laughed at the same time. He had been such a friend and such a beautiful creature! Sadly his search for freedom became his downfall! His loss is still felt today! After all... this discarded hunting dog had become what he was named: Our Buddy!

Joy was another discarded hunting dog dumped at one of the worst of North Carolina's Animal Control Shelters. She was doomed the minute she walked in!

I had gone out there to rescue one... and ended up taking three! Animal Rescuers are suckers! At least the true ones!

Little Man, the Jack Russel, ended up a permanent foster with a great lady and lived there until the day he died of cancer. He is buried in her backyard.
I don't even remember who the third dog was! ....The dog I actually came for! Funny, isn't it!

Jill was this bag of bones; the typical picture of a discarded hunting dog. The county is rural and there seemed to be too many of the two kinds of people I am not fond of: Dog Fighters and their bait breeders and the bad kind of hunters. I respect people who hunt for their own need and are able to make 'it' quick and as painless as possible. I dislike those that can't shoot a garage door from three feet away, wound more animals than they kill, and dump their 'failures', unwanted and those they don't care to feed during off-season out in the woods to fend for themselves. A lot of abandoned hunting dogs starve to death before they are found!

Jill was/is the perfect family dog. She is as gentle as can be and loved anybody in my house; cats and all! She listened well for a sometimes stubborn hound. Which was good since she apparently had no sense directions.

Joy found a great home through that same rescue. Thus... I have no idea what happened to her. Sometimes I wonder about them, but sadly there is no way to find out how they are doing!

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Hounds

To list them all and try to go through their history would take forever. But I wanted to at least cover a few of them. Maybe I do another article on breeds we don't know later.

The Types of Hounds:

The Sight Hound will 'see' his prey and chase it. They were bred to be very fast and actually catch and also kill the prey (like deer, gazelles, hares) themselves. Sight Hound breeds are Whippets, Afghans, Irish Wolfhound, Salukis, Greyhounds and such.

The Scent Hound hunts with its nose and is capable of following a scent for long distances. While they have the endurance, they are not very fast. Breeds included in this type are Bassets, Foxhounds, Plothounds and such.

And there are those that were bred to do both like the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

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Sight Hounds

Sighthounds are some of the oldest dog breeds and the Afghan Hound is one of the few with the least amount of genetic changes from his ancestor the Wolf. They first gained notice in the 1920s when brought to Great Britain. They were a blend of several longhaired sighthounds from all over Afghanistan. While they were originally hunting dogs or even guard dogs, they are now mostly used for racing, shows and as ...home-decorations. Their stunning beauty makes them a great companion for those out for 'looks'.

The Greyhound is yet another often misused Hound that suffers under human weaknesses. While the Foxhound and other hunting dogs are often discarded when they don't perform well or are no longer needed at the end of hunting season, the Greyhound is considered entertainment and also 'fired' when not performing well or as 'required'. Too many of these beautiful creatures are 'gotten rid of' in more or much less humane ways!
While some have put their origins into the hands of the Ancient Egyptians (who's dogs were actually more typical of Salukis and Sloughis), DNA tests prove that the Greyhound is actually closer related to herding dogs; and their ancestors coming from the Ancient Celts in Eastern Europe/Eurasia.

The Italian Greyhound could possibly have some ancestors going all the way back to Egypt, where mummified dogs of similar statue have been found. Other traces of similar small dogs were found in the art of Turkey and Greece around 4.000 years ago. By the Middle Ages they were found all over Southern Europe and became a favorite of the Italians. While they are today used as companions, they were originally used for hunting vermin like mice and rats.
Attempts to breed them even smaller led to a wide variety of health issues and deformities and the danger of instinction. Only through the dedication of some more responsible breeders was the Italian Greyhound saved.

The Saluki is one of the oldest breeds in existence and has been found in Sumerian Empire sites from 7,000-6,000 BC. It is named after the town Suluk, Libya in ancient Arabia and is also called the Persian Greyhound or Gazelle Hound. The nomadic tribes spread this dog from Sumer acris the Middle East and as far is India, Afghanistan and the Sudan. They were once considered the Royal Dogs of Egypt and can be found in Egyptian tombs around 2,000 BC; mummified and buried along the Pharaohs! They are also thought to have been mentioned in the Bible and are often found in medieval paintings showing the birth of Christ.

The Sloughi has a foggy history. Some believes are that they came from the Orient (today's Ethiopia) and it is today one of two African breeds of Sighthounds recognized by the FCI. Some earthenware from 3,000 BC shows a short-haired hound similar to it. It is now mostly seen in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

The Whippet can be found in Roman art dating as far back as the Roman Empire. But the name itself didn't show up until around 1610 when it described a dog of similar statue. Louis XV has been painted with his two Whippets. There are also other pictures by French painters and some French sources named the dogs of Louis XV 'Levrette'. Whippets became popular in the 19th century in England as racing dogs and Whippet Racing actually became a national sport. It was even more popular than football at the time.

Since the former USSR is now open to scientists it has become clear that the Borzoi is not related to the Saluki as first thought, but rather developed in Kyrgyzstan near the Afghan plains. The earliest Sighthound breeds in that area were the Afghan Hounds and the rather unknown Kyrgyz Taigan. From there the two breeds migrated South and to the West. Their adaptation led to the forming of other breeds.
The Borzoi we know today (Psovaya Brzaya) was created with use of a Ukrainian/Polish version of the old Hort, the Hortaya, and the Stepnaya; mixing it with other imported Western Sighthounds. Before the 1917 Revolution this breed was very popular with the Tsars and often used in hunting trials.

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Scent Hounds

The Bluetick Coonhound is one of the Scent Hounds. It originated in Louisiana and was a mix of the French Bleu de Gascgogne, the Cur Dog, the American Foxhound, the English Foxhound and the Black & Tan Virginia Foxhound. Their breed was recognized in the 1940s.

The Bloodhound has a very old history. Around 1,000 AD Belgian Monks in the Monastery of Saint-Hubert bred a dog they called Chien de St. Hubert. Despite the fact that the monks gifted many of them to the King of France, they weren't were highly thought of on the begin. He wanted fast hunting dogs, not trackers. Eventually their luck turned unter Henry IV. He presented James I of England with a pack and the dogs made their way to England. But just a little over a hundred years later the dogs had become rare.
Baron Le Couteulx de Canteleu finally searched for the surviving dogs, but hardly any were found. There are also believes that the original strain of St. Huberts died out.
The Bloodhound first appeared in history in the middle of the 14th century. They were mainly used as 'lyme' (leash dogs) to track both game and people. There were stories by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce about being followed by what they called 'Sleuth Hounds'. The most important source for Bloodhound history is John Caius (16th Century) who described a dog with hanging lips and ears that was used to follow blood trails. The dogs were also used to hunt cross-border raiders along the English/Scottish border. It is believed that the St. Hubert, the Sleuth Hound and the Bloodhound are the same or at least related.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog or Leopard Cur has kind of a foggy history. Some belief he stems from Greyhounds and Molossers brought to Louisiana around the 16th century. When French settlers arrived in Louisiana around the 19th century, they spoke of dogs with strange looks and glass eyes that looked haunting. The Indians used them as hunting dogs in the swamps. It is thought that the settler's Beauceron and the Red Wolves have been used to eventually create the Catahoula, but DNA tests question the use of Red Wolves.
The name Catahoula is a combination of the Choctaw words 'okhata' (lake) and 'hullo' (beloved). It can also be a French version of what the Choctaw Indians called themselves.

The English Foxhound surfaced in the 16th century, when deer was slowly disappearing and the nobles and royalty was looking for another sport. By carefully mixing Fox Terriers, Greyhounds and Bulldogs (hunting instinct, speed, tenacity to hunt), they created the Foxhound. Eventually Foxhounds were also imported to India to hunt jackals. But they did not do well with the hot weather and were eventually replaced by others.
The American Foxhound originated in Virginia and Maryland. Robert Brook had brought a pack of his priced hunting dogs to the colonies in 1650. In addition George Washington had received Grand Bleu de Gasgogne dogs and French Foxhounds as gifts. This led to what is now known as the American Foxhound.

The Plott Hound is the only one of the six UKC registered Coonhounds not related to the Foxhound. It is also to me the most beautiful one with the unique brindle color that render every individual Hound so unique that their strips could be used to identify them.
Their ancestors were boar hunting dogs in Germany and came to the States with Johannes Plott in 1750. Bred for gameness and stamina these dogs did well in the North Carolina mountains. The mountain range 'Plott Balsams' is named after Johannes Plott's family.

The Family Pet

No matter what they were mend to be, Hounds are more than beautiful things to show off or a tool to be used to entertain ourselves. They are a living creature capable of becoming a very faithful and loving companion for young and old.

They are often overlooked in shelters; just a Hound or Hound Mix! Just like there are 'just a Lab' or Lab Mix or 'just a Shepherd' or Shepherd Mix.

We need to take a closer look at those tools and see them as what they are: Living Creatures!

I love and loved every one of the Hounds or Hound Mixes that came into my family. They were great companions and are greatly missed!

The next time you walk into a shelter to find a companion, look for character, not for breed! And don't let a great companion die unwanted, because it is 'just a Hound'!

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Comments 3 comments

picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

Love reading these hubs, for like you I am a big dog lover. Just found a little 7 year old beagle a new home. She was at animal control and so scared and lost. Her owner had to give her up.

These hubs are so informative. Thanks for educating us!vote up!


Rachel Richmond profile image

Rachel Richmond 4 years ago from California

Hey Cat R, I know what you mean about the hounds being dumped in the woods. In VA, that happens in a few of the counties around the city of Richmond...it was sad. The good news ..the shelters were prepared and yes - we took one in ourselves! Ha! You just can't help it. Because we moved - our friend began to look and care after her. Great Hub..!


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Like pickles your hub is really great and your photos are wonderful. Seeing the first two brakes my heart seeing them so thin.Voted up and awesome.

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