UPDATE: Still looking for a unique holiday gift? Use the FULLCRY code on your order from MyDogMug.com (read about the offer here) or purchase Hound Welfare Fund merchandise, and you’ll be helping retired foxhounds at the same time!
BEFORE leaving Middleburg, Virginia, and the National Sporting Library, the houndbloggers spent an afternoon enjoying the town. As it happened, we weren’t the only ones out enjoying the nice weather and the Christmas shopping. Everywhere we went, we bumped into hounds of various sizes and breeds. I’d never seen a Scottish deerhound in person, so Espresso (pictured above) was of special interest. And we are already whippet fans, so Espresso’s friend Froggy, nattily attired in his warm coat and Christmas scarf, was also a welcome sight.Down by the bookstore Books and Crannies, we ran into another hunting hound breed you don’t see too often: a petit basset griffon vendeen, better known by their owners and breeders as PBGVs. They are rough-coated French bassets, as the name suggests, and I have only once seen them in a pack. They are adorable, as you can see from the nice example named Riley, below.
Riley was never a hunting hound. She was a show dog, now retired, and we saw her in just about every shop and cafe we visited, so she has a highly active social life! For those of you who want to know more about this interesting hound breed, here is a little information from the PBGV Club of America’s web site:
This small hunting dog has an intriguing and charming appearance and personality. But it is important to remember that the PBGV is, first and foremost, a hound developed to hunt game by scent. Furthermore, his physical evolution is directly related to the environment and terrain of the western coast of France, the Vendée, characterized by thick underbrush, rocks, thorns and brambles. This difficult terrain demanded a hardy, alert, bold, determined, intelligent hunter with both mental and physical stamina.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a proud member of some 28 hound breeds which are bred in France even today to serve their original purpose. They are used to hunt small game, especially hare and rabbit, in France, other European countries, the U.S. and Canada. Most French hound breeds came in large and small versions and were used for different prey. The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen was used for such large game as roedeer and wolf, while the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen was used to trail and drive smaller quarry, such as rabbit, hare and sometimes even feathered game.
In addition to seeing three different kinds of hounds, we also ran into one celebrity pony: Molly, the pony who survived Hurricane Katrina only to lose her right front leg after being attacked by a dog. She’s now fitted with a prosthetic foreleg. Molly was visiting Middleburg after making a special appearance at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she met veterans and their families in an event co-sponsored by the medical center and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
This day filled with animals closed out our stay in Middleburg, but I’ll continue to periodically post information from the National Sporting Library’s archives. Speaking of which …
Are you a sporting scholar?
If you have a research project related to field sports, consider applying for a John H. Daniels Fellowship at the National Sporting Library. The library is an excellent resource for anyone researching sports from foxhunting and beagling, to polo and racing and general horsemanship, to fly-fishing and shooting. If you are working on a book or other project requiring research into these topics, look into the fellowship application here. The application deadline for the 2010-2011 season is February 1, 2010.
Fellows receive free housing, a stipend (maximum $2,000 per month), a workplace with a computer at the library, and–trust me, this is a big benefit–free use of the copy machine at the library while on their fellowship term. Fellowships are open to both U.S. and foreign citizens. Applicants generally may seek fellowships for periods of up to 12 months, although foreign fellows may be limited to 90 days, depending on visa issues.
Best of all, you get to indulge your love for sporting research in the library’s collections, including their rare books and archives.