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  • Writer's pictureTim Hackworth

Lew Madden on the Dual Purpose Hound

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Lew Madden was famous for judging, hunting, showing, trialing and most importantly, for his work as a respected writer for HOUNDS & HUNTING magazine. His monthly column ran for years, and attracted a legion of followers for his outspoken dedication to the true hunting hound, especially during the years when brace hounds were being bred to worthlessness for hunting purposes.

CH. Madden's Marksman: Lew stated this was the best hound he ever bred. A show champion with numerous field places. Sired by Lew's famous CH. Madden's Marten.

Although he judged trials for decades, Lew was most active as a competitor during the dual purpose age of the 1930s, with both show champions and field champions coming from his limited breeding program. What follows are his thoughts about the dual purpose beagle, as written in HOUNDS & HUNTING magazine, December 1969:

"We, the present generation of beaglers, inherited from our forefathers a mighty fine breed with mighty fine qualities. Unfortunately, we did not inherit the ideals our forefathers had for its improvement. The dual purpose hound of the 1930s was the culmination of the efforts of a number of fine fanciers whose sole purpose was to create a hound capable of giving a good account of himself, both in the field and on the bench. The era of the dual purpose hound was the era of the highest idealism beagling has ever enjoyed.

Many of the beagle clubs, along with their annual licensed trials, held a specialty show. Many of the field trial hounds competed in these shows and vice versa. In addition to the regular show classes, there was a field trial class restricted to entries who competed in the trial. A special prize was generally awarded to those hounds who had the best combined score in the field and on the bench. Events of this sort kept beaglers of both field and show entries together in one group and was largely responsible for the breed's climb into the number one spot in registrations.

Unfortunately, for the breed, we have now drifted so far apart that few of either group now knows what the other group's sport is all about. Of the 340 field champions and the 136 show champions listed in HOUNDS & HUNTING for the 1968-1969 season and their sires and dams, I am unable to locate a single individual that has made a title or produced a title holder in the group other than the one for which it was especially bred. Yet all are of the same breed. We have drifted into two separate groups of specialists, each dedicated to a single objective, but apparently blind to the fact that our breed in the hands of the field trial group has deteriorated in type, and in the hands of our show group has deteriorated in field ability.

Both groups have so much to offer each other. It is not just as simple a matter as breeding a show hound to a field trial hound and getting a good dual purpose hound, but many of our field hounds are already nice looking, if not exceptionally typy, while a number of our show hounds are no doubt good rabbit dogs, even if not of field trial caliber. It would, therefore, seem simply a matter of us getting closer together and understanding each other a little better by seeing what the other fellow has if we are sincerely interested in improving the all-around qualities of the breed."

Well, we know that today's beagle, over 50 years since Lew wrote this, is even further apart in show and field than in 1969. In fact, the separation has created essentially two breeds within the beagle breed. But there still are a very few of us carrying on the torch for Lew and trying to improve the breed as a whole. Won't you join us?

Here are two views of Lew Madden's most famous hound, show CH. Madden's Marten. Marten was by CH. Delco Minor and out of CH. Delco Joyce. The Delco bloodlines came mostly from Ike Carrel's Shady Shores show bloodlines tracing back the CH. Stoke Place Sapper. Lew wrote long stories about hunting with Marten, especially detailing all day running while gun hunting for foxes in the southwest Pennsylvania hills during the Great Depression. Marten was a rugged, tough hound who could win a show, place in a field trial, and drive game to the gun hour after hour, day after day for his master.

In a 1933 stud ad for Marten in HOUNDS AND HUNTING, Lew stated "Marten is Exceptionally straight, has nice bone, and is cleanly built. He is ABSOLUTELY the BEST rabbit hound I have EVER seen, fast, close on the line, clean in his work and with a FIERCE SQUALLING VOICE, which he uses right, and has the faculty of making his game travel in long swinging circles. He has a record at home here of running for SIXTEEN consecutive days without losing a single rabbit."

This is the type of hound we need today!


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