The Hounds

 

The Hounds Foundation strives to foster humane treatment of hounds and to educate children and other members of the public on proper practices that promote hound health, hound training, and hunting. The Foundation also strives to foster key relationships with like-minded organizations.

Hunting hounds standing in the grass during a fox hunt


HISTORY OF HUNTING WITH HOUNDS

Humankind has hunted with hounds for many thousands of years. Early Egyptian hieroglyphs depict Pharaohs in chariots, accompanied by hounds, pursuing lions. Early African artifacts reveal distant past hunting scenes, and, cave paintings in France offer a glimpse of prehistoric hunting. Medieval stag hunting utilized packs of hounds. In 17th century England, hounds bred to hunt stags, found a fox trail on one hunting day, and the chase proved to be so sporting, that foxhunting quickly became more popular. And, when farmers and landowners realized the hunts were dispatching of the livestock threatening red raiders, foxhunts were welcome. English colonials imported red foxes from their homeland once they had established land holdings in the new world. Lord Fairfax and George Washington were avid sporting gentlemen. Both had their own kennels and the father of our country kept highly detailed journals of his foxhunting exploits. Philadelphia spawned the first organized foxhunting club in the colonies.

In 1766 it seems foxes were ravaging livestock in Gloucester, New Jersey. Farmers offered the equivalent of $50 per pelt. Enterprising gentlemen in Philadelphia were inspired to found the Gloucester Foxhunting Club to dispatch the pesky carnivore. This was a fine opportunity to enjoy sport while also gaining some additional income. The mounted Gloucester field, led by noted Philadelphian Samuel Morris, grew increasingly popular. Sporting days were interrupted in 1774, due to certain diplomatic unpleasantries. Now Captain Morris led the foxhunters into the eventual conflict, as part of the hastily organized First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. The ardent horsemen became the initial cavalry unit of the colonial army. Upon the British surrender, and, as everyday life returned to the norm, various hunting enterprises sprung up. Many foxhunting enterprises continue today.