GOOD GOODS IN SMALL PACKAGES
(From January 1916)
The above subject has been chosen that the writer might cause some question to arise in some reader’s mind. Perhaps I would not be far wrong if I should say, “The Best Goods Are in the Small Packages.” If you challenge this statement I am willing to undertake the task of proving to you that without mistake I am right, in my declaration.
What is a beagle? Is he a pure bred, or is he a mongrel? What is he good for? Is he the legitimate “Rabbit Dog?” Why is he the best “Rabbit Dog?” The writer has seen many beagle hounds, and he has dropped many a “silent tear” for some of the sins the beagle is charged with. Many small rabbit dogs are masquerading under the name beagle. Many of those same small dogs have vices with which the beagle is charged; because some ignorant person classes all small rabbit dogs as beagles. If there is a true blue-blooded dog living, it is the beagle. His blood is not only blue, but it is also good and rich red, with plenty of the good old fashioned iron in it; and for his size the true beagle carries as much grit as any of them. He not only has the grit, but he also has the brains and a good nose to go with the rest of the makeup. Being small, but at the same time fast, he can go anywhere a rabbit can, in carrying a trail. You can keep a pair at the cost of one larger dog The offspring are always salable; provided, positively, that you have well bred ones. And why not have well bred and pedigreed beagles? I am aware that a pedigree will not put a good nose on your dog, but I can assure you if you get a dog from a strain of dogs with good noses, you will in all likelihood get a dog that will prove a pleasure to you in the way he is able to follow a rabbit track, in any kind of going; and that proves your dog has a good nose.. I am aware that many men want large dogs for rabbits, but I can assure you that after trying all kinds and sizes, if you have a good beagle, you have the ideal dog for the sport of rabbit hunting. Some like a fast dog, and some like a slow dog. Each man to his choice.
There are two types of the beagle, but I am free to confess there should be but one type. Why cannot a bench dog be a good field dog, and why can not a field dog be a bench dog? Here is where the beagle is being harmed to a very great extent, viz.: by having two classes, or types of beagles. The principle of showing sporting dogs on the bench may be made a strong factor towards raising the above breed of dogs in the minds of those who demand a serviceable, working dog; and then again the beagle may be greatly damaged in the minds of those same persons by letting anything win on the bench under the present scale of points, without a single consideration of useful and working conformation. The present day beagle as a whole, and as a field trial winner is bred for speed alone–of course he must have nose, and brains to carry that speed in the right direction. If he can win a race at a field trial who cares whether he is crooked tailed, double jointed, bent, hocked, flat footed, snip nosed, short eared, terrier type, choppy voiced; all that is asked of him is that he shall carry the trail and show the speed sufficient to beat the other fellow’s dog. It is true such a dog must show a pedigree; and be registered before he can be allowed to compete in a field trial. We all know that many of the dogs competing at field trials, and many times winning, would not stand any show of a “look-in” on the bench. Where is the good old hound type? The beagle is a hound and not a terrier. He is a dog to run by the lay of the track, and not to run by sight. Insist that he trail his game. Keep his nose where it ought to be; and when you hear him “wind his horn,” let the music sound as if it came from a hound and not from a terrier. I like that clear, long, drawn bell like note. I deplore the short, choppy bark. Now on the other hand, when we come to the bench show beagle we often find a slow, lazy poor nosed, lunk headed dog, all too ready to quit the track when the going is hard, or the loss is made. We have been running to extremes in the past. To get a field winner we are willing to sacrifice almost anything, and the same has been true in our efforts to win on the bench. The result is we have developed two widely different kinds or types of dogs. Why not get back to the conformation of Bugler C., Imported Florist, Clyde 2td, Relentless, Robino 2td. In other words give us the miniature foxhound. Strike that happy medium of beauty, which comes with the combination of bench conformation and working qualities in the field. Breed a dog that is distinctively hound, and at the same time is distinctively a beagle. A rabbit dog for rabbit hunting; a bench dog for showing; the both in one. It has been done in individual cases, and it can be done again. Witness Lord Derby and Young Tippecanoe, and many others that could be mentioned: not forgetting Little Dandy. I know of beagles that have won on the bench that never smelled a wild rabbit track; some of them were gun shy, and worthless as hunters for game. Nice to look at, but I maintain the beagle distinctively a hunting, or field working dog, and not a society pet. It is the business of the beagle to drive rabbits till they are shot or holed, and you please to keep those rabbits moving all the time. Not to spend a half day under the shadow of one tree, trying to work off a track. Many of us have bought dogs and paid the good stuff for them, only to be awakened to the fact that we had been stung some fellow who did not have a high respect for the virtue of truth. Never buy a dog till you try him first. The man who sells him to you will want every dollar you pay him to be a good dollar; and you have a right to demand that the dog be as he is represented; in other words, you want what you pay for. If a man has not enough faith in his dog to let you deposit your money the purchase price with this paper and send the dog on trial, don’t deal with him. To be sure, you must prove your own reliability and that you know how to handle a dog. There are two sides to every question. Consider the other fellow as well as yourself. He has interests at stake in selling the dog as you have in buying him.
Again my friend, do not think you know it all when you buy a dog. You may know a good deal about a good many dogs, but you do not know anything perhaps about this particular dog you have bought. Give him a chance to get acquainted. Some dogs retain a memory for the old home and master longer than others. I once owned a dog that for two months almost, she refused to do anything for me, and she afterwards proved one of the best I ever saw.
Coming back to the subject of the hunting beagle. We are breeding very precocious youngsters now, and the field trials are showing some prenomenal work on the part of very young dogs. This leads me to say, blood will tell, be it good or bad. If you are observant you will find dogs have character that stamps them high or low in the scale of accomplishment. I recall a beagle owned by a doctor friend of mine, that has the rabbit sense and goes about his work with cheerfulness all day and every day. No matter if the going is easy or hard, it is all the same to old Casey Jones; he never had a sore nose nor a sore foot, and I have known him to be hunted in company and alone every day of a long hunting season. He is all beagle, of the good old fashioned type. Hunts with a high head, and always has his speed and sense in trailing or routing them out. Briars, brush piles, swale, swamp and the open field all look alike to him. The blood of such natural rabbit dogs ought to be perpetuated. Many times the question has come up, viz: are the field trials a true estimate for the a true worth of a beagle? That is do the dogs get the full trial that will bring an intelligent decision by the judges? Not that the judges do not make the awards according to their honest opinion, but a particular beagle, at a trial may strike a certain bad running rabbit. Another dog in the same class may strike a good straight away running rabbit. The latter dog will get the award, while the defeated dog may as good and sometimes far better than the dog that wins over him at the trials.
The dog that is on the job, true and honest, is the dog that delights our heart. The one that never opens till the game is afoot, and that carries the trail true, and marks the hole when the bunny goes to earth. I know there are faddists, but the hunting beagle is not the creature of the faddist. He is a working dog. Some are trying to push him off the rabbit track and put him on the bench. But if he is to be the true beagle with the true hunt in him he must be the true hound and not the terrier. Hound conformation ought to enter into the judging of the field enter trials. Keep the bench and field type as one and don’t have two types. We can keep his beauty and usefulness in one if we will be determined to do so.
Let the men who show at the trials and on the bench work for the interests of the dog and not for the interests of themselves and the prizes to be won. Make the good of the beagle the highest good any time and all the time. The pluck and good, stout, brave heart of the beagle will win and hold friends if you seek the highest aim of the true beagle lover–work all the time, and then some, to have your beagle a good looker and an honest, cheerful, happy worker, loyal and true–the only natural rabbit dog. If you don’t agree with me, “shoot your gun,” but load it with fine shot, and the powder of the true spirit of the sportsman.
Talk and work for the best little dog that lives. Not a race horse monstrosity in the field, nor a bench show dub, but rather a well balanced, busy, handsome pal
Very sincerely yours,