The HH hounds are kennelled in the centre of the HH country at Ropley, and the horses are stabled there too. Annual Open days are held when members of the public are encouraged to come and see the hounds and learn more about the activities of a modern-day hunt.

The hounds have been carefully bred for over a century to produce a pack ideally suited to this woodland country. It is especially important that hounds draw well, and have good feet to cope with the vicious flints commonly known as Hampshire diamonds.

Between the wars the legendary Master George Evans bred a fine pack, which won many prizes at the major hound shows as well as excelling in their work. This line is still present in the kennels and the pack has two other main breeding lines. One was introduced from the North Cotswold by huntsman Steve Andrews in the 1970s and the other by Bob Collins who came as huntsman from the Curre in 1991. Over the years we have had great success using stallion hounds from the VWH, and current huntsman William Hudson is particularly pleased with a couple of draft hounds from the Dumfriesshire.

Short-legged compact horses are ideal for the HH country. They need to be good timber jumpers and very fit; few people have second horses. It has always been said that the ideal HH horse is "one which will jump 3'6" of timber out of 3' of mud when three horses have refused in front of it"!.

foxhounds
Foxhounds

The British Isles consists of vastly different types of country and therefore hounds have evolved over time to suit different countries. Thus a different sort of hound is required in the steep fell of the Lake District (inaccessible to the horse) than in the hard riding fields of Leicestershire. However, hounds require some 'generic' qualities no matter what sort of country they are hunting as shown below:
  • Nose - hounds hunt by following a scent rather than by sight
  • Stamina- hounds hunt for many hours a day, two or sometimes three days per week
  • Cry - cry or tongue is very important so that the hound can let other hounds (and the Huntsman and followers) know that it has the scent
  • Pack sense - hounds need to work as a pack and not become too independent
  • Drive - the ability to keep going forward and not to dwell on the line
  • Courage - the ability to get back to the pack when separated and to enter thick cover to find the scent
The Foxhound has been very carefully bred and in many cases pedigrees can be traced back to the early 1700's, however the first volume of the Stud Book was not produced until 1841. The types of hounds mainly seen today are:
  • The Modern Foxhound
  • The Old English Foxhound
  • The Fell Hound
  • The Hill Hound
  • The Welsh Hound
  • The West Country Harrier
Most packs now hunt the Modern Foxhound but many have been bred using a judicious blending of Welsh blood and Dumfries. In some cases packs have out crossed to other types, the most recent being the American.

puppies
Puppy Walking

Every year the puppies born in hunt kennels are sent out to 'walk' with willing volunteers for several months. An extract from an article Captain Ronnie Wallace wrote for Hunting magazine describes the process:

"The development from bundles of charm as puppies to grown hounds ready to hunt depends tremendously on devoted puppy-walkers. The cult of puppy-walking has developed greatly since the war. Although there were a few famous puppy-walkers, sometimes puppies then were kept largely confined. Now that has changed. Puppies live as members of the family, and improvements in worming and inoculations against distemper have helped to create excellent conditions for the rearing of hounds.

Care of puppies is just like care of children. Both need some discipline. For hound puppies this need only include answering to their names, basic instructions, and possibly, going comparatively willingly on a collar and lead. After that all depends on love, as with children. Young hounds who are given genuine interest and love are the ones that flourish all their lives."

We at the Hampshire Hunt are extremely grateful to our loyal puppy walkers. Without them we would not be able to produce the pack we have today.


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