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  • Writer's pictureTim Hackworth

Great Hounds: CH. Croy's Superfine Toney

Tracing the tail male line (top line of pedigree) of my good hound, Woodpont Timber, we find the great show champion CH. Croy's Superfine Toney in the 21st generation. That's a long way back, but since Toney is found numerous other times (many thousands) in the pedigree of our current hounds, perhaps he exerts a small influence all these years later. All American show beagles today will have many crosses of Toney, and most field hounds too. Toney was a strong producer of field and show hounds during the dual purpose age of the 1930s.

According to Ike Carrell in HOUNDS AND HUNTING magazine of September 1937, Toney's story began at a spring Chicago dog show in the mid-1920s. In those days, trials were held in fall, and shows in the springtime. The Chicago show was popular with mid-western beaglers, and they supported it with a sizeable entry each year. It was at this show in 1919 that beaglers of that part of the country got their first look at imported CH. Stoke Place Sapper, who was purchased from the Wheatley kennel after the show and remained in the Illinois area (and available to breeders) the rest of his life. Apparently it was common in those days to list for sale those hounds being shown at this show.

Jack Croy, from Moline, Illinois, president of the Mississippi Valley Beagle Club, and like many others was active in both shows and trials. Mr. Croy attended that Chicago show and saw a hound named Superfine Sapper, owned by the Superfine Kennels of John Schuster, who lived in Manistique, MI, in Michigan's upper peninsula. John had offered Sapper for sale, but apparently had changed his mind after the show when approached by Mr. Croy, who wanted to purchase him. To appease Mr. Croy, Mr. Schuster offered to sell him a half brother to Sapper that he had left at home, this being Toney. When Mr. Schuster returned home, he retrieved Toney from the farm where he was being field trained and was amazed at what a nice hound he had developed into. Reluctantly, he sent the hound to Mr. Croy to complete the deal. Incidentally, Superfine Sapper also later became a show champion, but was never the popular producer Toney was when bred. Mr. Schuster bred some outstanding hounds, but probably let the best of the bunch get away from him, that being Toney.

Soon after receiving Toney, Mr. Croy took him to a local field trial to get the opinion from veteran beaglers as to what type of hound he had. The men were in unanimous agreement that Toney was exceptional. Mr. Croy began to enter Toney in shows and trials. He finished quickly as a show champion, but never completed his field championship, although he had several places for points. Ike Carrel, writing about Toney afield, said "He was used a great deal by breeders who were anxious to get the conformation, coloring and strength that he possessed, reproduced and as a great many type hounds of that generation were over anxious, his calm, level disposition in the field made him additionally attractive from another angle. Toney placed a good many times at the trials, being a willing worker and it is not strange that he became famous".

Toney competed in the 13 inch male class. He had the tri-color with black blanket look and small size so coveted by beaglers. Toney's sire was CH. Rockywold Driver, and his dam was Superfine Crafty, both owned by John Schuster. Both sire and dam had a close up cross of Ch. Stoke Place Sapper, the hound who is credited for starting the tri-color black blanket trend in America, which continues to this day as the color pattern most associated with beagles.

There was a story told by L.M. Watson about having one of his hounds in a trial braced against Toney. Apparently the two hounds trailed a rabbit down into a deep ditch, but according to Watson, his hound was able to climb out and continue the run but Toney was not, which Watson attributed to his straight legs and shoulders. To me this is a questionable account, and I have to wonder if the "Sage of Yellow Creek" did not exaggerate the facts a bit. Like Hiram Card, Watson seemed a bit of a "storyteller", and did not favor the show type hound. His famous show CH. Yellow Creek Sport did not compare with Toney in conformation, based solely on pictures I have seen, and Sport's pedigree was not loaded with popular show hounds like Toney's was, although Sport did have two crosses of CH. Stoke Place Sapper through his dam. CH. Sport later gained fame as the grandsire of FC. Gray's Linesman.

Toney was bred extensively, making Jack Croy famous for eternity among beaglers, and bringing in a significant income in stud fees. Within a few years, most show beagles carried a cross or more of Toney. CH. Do Mor Director, a hound I wrote about in an earlier story, had at least 7 or 8 crosses of Toney in his pedigree. Below is another photo of this great hound from the past....labeled in this as "America's wonder hound".

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