Associations and Societies

Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles

The Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles (AMHB) was founded in 1891. In that year, the Association registered 107 packs of Harriers and 40 packs of Beagles. 

The over-riding role of the Association, as it has traditionally been, is to act as the Governing Body of Hunting by packs of Harriers and Beagles in Great Britain. Despite the Hunting Act 2004, the Association and its members would like to maintain their commitment and amend the flawed legislation and to promote the management, welfare and conservation of the hare.

The Beagle and the Harrier have been bred over several centuries for their working qualities. Beagles stand between 14 and 16 inches in height and Harriers up to 21 inches. There are two breeds of a Harrier: the Stud Book Harrier and the West Country Harrier. All hounds are entered in the AMHB Stud Book which is published annually.

The qualities of a working hound are:

  • Scenting ability – “nose”
  • Stamina – which depends to a great extent on their conformation
  • Biddability – their willingness to work and live as a member of a pack in and out of kennels
  • Steadiness – their ability to stick to the line of the scent
  • Intelligence
  • Voice

Bassett Hounds

The Masters of Basset Hounds Association was formed in 1912 exclusively with the Hunting Basset in mind. Prior to the Hunting Act of 2004 nearly all connoisseurs agreed that hunting the hare with a pack of Basset hounds represented the finest form of venery. They say that nothing quite matched the persistency; the tenacity at holding the line, the deeper scenting abilities and the cry of a pack of Basset hounds on a good day.

Most member packs of the Masters of Basset Hounds Association enter hounds at the Festival of Hunting. The Association also carries out kennel inspections for member packs in the UK and represents them at the Council of Hunting Associations.

Modern English and Old English Foxhounds

In the main ring at the Peterborough Royal Foxhound show modern Foxhounds are shown, and outside the Old English (OE) type are judged. In addition to this all other type of hounds are judged here too. There are fewer classes in the OE ring as there are fewer packs and since the advent of these classes at Peterborough, the quality of the OE appears to have improved.

The modern English Foxhound has evolved over the last 100 years and consists of a mixture of different types, with the “pure” or “old English  type” regarded by some as not suitable for hunting, because the Peterborough fashion had become exaggerated with too much bone.

Fortunately the old English type has also evolved and become more active than the heavy hound of 100 years ago. So what are the differences which are barely discernible to the layman?  The Old English (OE) may be smaller than some of the current modern hounds and while all tan,  they appear to be slightly straighter in the shoulder with a shorter humerus bone than the modern. Supporters of the OE do not want to have a touch of what was regarded as tainted blood (modern) and they have managed by careful hound breeding and not breeding too close to maintain their type without losing their conformation, they certainly have produced a type and the OE packs are certainly well matched in levelness that is so important.

The modern initially were made up from the best of the OE and Welsh blood lines much lighter boned than the OE. Between the two world wars the FKSB was closed and it was not until 1955 that it was opened again to admit not only Welsh but also Fell and Hill hound blood. More recently American lines have been introduced. The reason for needing these out-crosses is to give the line bred modern foxhound a refresher of blood that provides extra hybrid vigour as well as increasing the gene pool.

The 2022 judges were:

Dog Hounds

H J M Berkeley Esq., MFH

H G Bailey Esq., MFH

Bitch Hounds

APA Waughl Esq., MFH

G L Landau Esq., MFH

Old English Type – Dog hounds and Bitch Hounds

C R Clark Esq., MFH

J Reed Esq.