Monday, April 18, 2011

Ode to the Hound dog

Easter weekend is only a few days away.  Many people will dust off the baskets, glaze up and the ham, and press their Easter dress in preparation for the day. More importantly, people will begin the tradition of dying hardboiled eggs in preparation of the “great Easter egg hunt”. Ok, so your family Easter egg hunt isn’t that grand to be given such a title, but it’s the one thing every child and parent looks forward to, which makes it a great tradition. So what better time than now to honor the breed of dogs best known for their tracking and hunting skills? I’m speaking of course of the Hound dog (and I don’t mean Elvis’ song).
 “Most hounds share the common ancestral trait of being used for hunting.  Some have acute scenting powers to follow a trail. Others demonstrate a phenomenal gift of stamina as they relentlessly run down quarry. “-
You may think you know a hound when you see one, but you’d be amazed at how many different dogs fall into the hound category.   The AKC recognizes 25 distinct breeds in the hound family.  Not only that, but hounds are also divided into further categories, such as sight hounds and scent hounds. 
Sight hounds, also known as gazehounds, hunt their quarry by using their exceptional sight rather than smell.  Their physical features give them a greater advantage.  Their long jaw and extended neck increases their ability to see long distances while their lean muscular body, deep chest, and long powerful legs allow them to be fast and agile to keep up with their prey.  Of course this definition makes you think of the Greyhound or Whippet, which are both sight hounds but not the only ones.
Scent hounds hunt their quarry by following their scent.  These hounds do not need to have good eye sight, be fast or agile. They were built for endurance and can follow a scent for miles, even across running water.  Scent hounds have large noses (with deep, open nostrils) and loose moist lips which both help to pick up scent particles, while their long ears help them focus on their nose.  Naturally we think of Bloodhounds, Basset hounds, and Coon hounds which are just a few of many scent hounds.
Scent hounds are often used in police detection work, including investigations for our own Riverside Sheriff’s Department.  
Do you have a hound or might be thinking about getting one? Here is a list of local clubs and rescues to help you get involved and save a life.
Pharaoh Hound Club of America:
Orange Coast Rhodesian Ridgeback Club:
Inland Empire Hound Club:
For more breed specific clubs near you, visit and click on ‘Clubs’ tab.

Afghan Hound Club of America:
Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California:
Beagles and Buddies:
Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption (formerly the Riverside Humane Society):
Riverside County Department of Animal Services:
Moreno Valley Animal Services:

For more rescue opportunities check out\

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