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Artful Hounds: Bloodhounds & Dachshunds

Click here to read the full article in our digital edition.

By Debra Lampert-Rudman

“Whoever loveth me, loveth my hound.” – Sir Thomas More

At first glance, the poignant Bloodhound and sprightly Dachshund seem an unlikely pairing.

But, upon closer look, as seen in A Domestic Scene by William Henry Hamilton Trood, the pair round out a typical Victorian-era (1837-1901) fireside setting, each dog’s personality portrayed to the fullest. Both Dachshunds and Bloodhounds were popularized by Queen Victoria in England.

Trood’s painting, currently on view at the AKC Museum of the Dog in Missouri, has a Mastiff at its core, with most of the other family dogs gathered beside him.

Note that the Dachshund, although nestled within the Mastiff’s hind legs, appears to have one eye on the tussling terriers; hind legs poised for action if needed. While the gallant Bloodhound quietly observes the scene from the right; he also appears to have an eye on something exciting: the Dachshund; possibly watching for a signal that real excitement might be on the horizon.

Brigadier of Reynalton
A Bloodhound for the Ages

According to Kim Campbell Thornton’s Bloodhounds, the Victorian Era’s attraction to the “unusual” brought Bloodhounds back from near extinction with Queen Victoria entering one of her own Bloodhounds in an early dog show, in 1869, thereby increasing public interest in the breed.

Bloodhounds held a fascination with many of the rich and famous in America as well in the early 20th century; most notably, Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge.

Mrs. Dodge’s “Brigadier of Reynalton” is perhaps the most highly immortalized Bloodhound of all time.

June Harrah’s 1936 Bronze on a Marble base, Ch. Brigadier of Reynalton, is one of several pieces of art in various media commissioned by Mrs. Dodge of her very special dog, “Brigadier”.

According to the provenance of the piece, listed on the William Secord Gallery website: “Ch. Brigadier Reynalton, bred by Nina Elms, Ch. Leo of Reynalthon X Comely of Reyalthon A.K.C. 965426, Leo of Reynalthon considered one of the greatest hounds bred in 1920s.

“Undefeated in Britain before he was imported by Mrs. Dodge, Brigadier was also undefeated in breed competition in America in 45 shows. He won the breed at Westminster for five consecutive years, although he was not entered in 1933, the year that Mrs. Dodge judged Best in Show.

“Brigadier became the first Bloodhound to earn an AKC BIS March 11, 1936 at Columbus, Ohio. He again won Best in Show at Baltimore later that same year, accumulating a show record of 23 Groups and 2 BIS. He won Best of Breed at Westminster in 1939, and the 1937 Sporting Group I at Eastern Dog Club.”

The website details go on to state, “Bloodhound popularity was at low ebb both in America and Britain during these years. By campaigning Brigadier from coast to coast, Dodge brought the breed much needed publicity.”

This portrait of Brigadier by R. Ward Binks movingly expresses the Bloodhound’s soulful nature.

In fact, The American Bloodhound Club’s website reveals the true “soulful” beginnings of this special breed lie with Hubert, a 7th Century French monk who later became patron saint of hunters. “From hounds bred by other medieval nobleman…many strains, including hounds brought back to Europe by the Crusaders from the Holy Land, have blended to produce today’s gentle giants.”

According to the American Bloodhound Club, it was not until the 16th century that the Bloodhound was used to track humans. “”Blood,” in the breed name “bloodhound,” probably comes from “blooded” – meaning a hound of pure breeding. In French-speaking parts of Europe Bloodhounds are still known as St. Hubert hounds.”

John Sargent Noble’s On the Scent depicts the scene most commonly associated with the Bloodhound; using his scenting ability to search for the missing or the hunted.

According to Secord’s book A Breed Apart, John Sargent Noble was well-known for his paintings of sporting scenes and dogs, especially Bloodhounds and Otterhounds. “Bloodhounds have scenting powers more acute than any other breed and can hunt man in circumstances that would compel others to give up.”

The artist Edwin Megargee’s book Dogs describes the Bloodhound as “one of the noblest, the kindest, and the gentlest of all breeds”.
Megargee goes on to disclose the story of “Nick Carter” a famous bloodhound who “picked up a trail that was 105 hours old and followed it to a subsequent conviction. Several dogs have followed human scent for more than fifty miles, and one led the detectives 138 miles successfully.”

“Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.” – Queen Victoria

Dachshunds, the smallest breed of the Hound group, have been loved and beloved by royalty, celebrities, and movie stars possibly more than any other breed.

Artists including Picasso with his “Lump” and David Hockney with his “Stanley” and “Boodgie”; Queen Victoria, Socialite Brooke Astor, actresses Carole Lombard, Brooke Shields, and the fashion designer Geoffrey Beene are just some of the many well-known Dachshund lovers.

Dachshunds, although eventually favored by royalty, in name literally are “badger dogs” bred to go to ground after vermin in their native Germany and Austria.

Dachshunds at Rest by Ludwig Volz depicts the breed as it looked in 1855.

“This is a very early depiction of the Dachshund, before the era of dog shows and breeding for conformation. You can see the game bag and that these were truly working dogs,” William Secord said in a recent interview. “They were used to hunt badger, and to go to ground for vermin. The front legs are much longer than we see today. Many German dogs are known for being multi-purpose dogs.”

“Dachshunds are such a charming breed…a big dog in a little dog’s body,” noted Gina Leone Middings recently in an email.
Middings, an artist specializing in Dachshunds, not only completed the artwork for the Dachshund Club of America’s Illustrated Standard, but is also a Best in Show winning breeder/owner/handler.

“They are an easy subject for me because I have such a passion for the breed and have been actively breeding and showing them for many years.” Ms. Middings’ The Empress, a portrait owned by Iris Love, depicts Ch. Laddland’s Liz the Lionhearted, ROMX (also known as “Nike”) at 16 years of age.
Ms. Middings went on to say that, “Dachshunds are comical in their actions and make each day a new adventure.”

William Henry Hamilton Trood’s Bloodhound would certainly agree with that.

About the Author

Debra Lampert-Rudman is a writer and artist dedicated to dog art and endlessly inspired by her five cocker spaniels. She may be reached at potterypup@aol.com • www.potterypup.com

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=49255

Posted by on May 20 2014. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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