The Story of the Woodpont Strain of Beagles
Updated: Sep 8
In the late 1970s, the top "dual-purpose" hunting beagle kennels in American were the Little Ireland (Tom Dornin) and Gay (Frank Reese) kennels. Now, I should say cottontail hunting beagles, since there were some very nice kennels of hare hounds in the north at that time as well. By "dual-purpose", I am referring to kennels that used both field and show lines to improve the overall look (type, conformation) of their hounds to produce hounds who could stand up to long hours/years of work in the field. Other cottontail hounds did not compare to Little Ireland or Gay, especially in conformation. So it was these kennels that I used to start the Woodpont kennel in the late 70s.
The foundation of the kennel eventually became Woodpont Brandywine, purchased as a puppy in 1982 from Tom and Velta Dornin of Little Ireland Kennels. Brandy was an outstanding hound, both in hunting ability and conformation, and won field trials and shows for us in addition to being a pack leader on so many gunning trips to many states. She was 9/16 show bred. We probably could not have found a better foundation for this strain of hounds.
Beautiful Woodpont Brandywine at age 7 months. All the Woodponts today trace back to multiple crosses of her.
Tom Dornin: His efforts to breed hunting beagles made our Woodpont Beagles possible.
By the early 1980s, Larry Carter (Valar Beagles) and John New (New City Beagles) had their own breeding programs going and were producing "dual-purpose" hounds very similar to those from Little Ireland and Gay. Through our early gundog field trials, I became friends with Larry and John. It was to these lines that I turned next.
In 1985, I purchased a five week old puppy from Larry Carter that was to become Woodpont Joker, foundation sire for the Woodpont strain. Joker was sired by John New's show champion, CH. Rob-Ida's Jeorge with a J, and his dam was sired by Little Rowdy VI. Jeorge is known as the sire of John's FC. New City Cruiser, and Rowdy sired FC. Indian Hills Majer. Woodpont Joker put more drive into our hounds, and added even more conformation.
Building on this foundation, I made crosses to hounds like CH. Valar's Gruesome Grizz, FC. Indian Hills Majer, and FC. New City Cruiser, but it was a top running hound named Indian Hills Rowdy who made the greatest impact, producing Woodpont Beauty in 1991. Beauty was the 5th generation of the line. She was a fast, exciting running hound with a thrilling high voice. She placed numerous times in trials, and I will never forget her performance in the pack stakes at the National Beagle Club's Triple Challenge event in 1997 when she drove a rabbit solo through the spectators and over the hill while most of the other hounds were rioting on deer. She won her class that day.
From Beauty, I bred three different litters, all to field-bred sires from different lines, bringing into the developing strain new lines I had seen at trials or had some experience with. A female from each of these three litters became the start of our three female lines still going today. These females were Woodpont Banner (by FC. Boggy Holler Buddie), Woodpont Blessing (by FC. Burton's Dan) and Woodpont Birdsong (by FC. Northway Ninja). These three females were top hunting hounds and placed in trials, and produced good sons and daughters to carry on the Woodpont lines.
Since then, several show champion crosses have been made, including crosses in 1995, 1999, and 2006 that played an important role in shaping the strain. More Indian Hills and New City lines were added, as well as lines tracing to IFC Taylor's Sock It To Me, FC Woodstock Granppy, and recently more FC Northway Spur. The goal through the years has been to eliminate any physical defects by carefully selecting breeding stock, to produce sound, healthy beagles suitable for a variety of purposes. Today most of our litters are from Woodpont lines on both sides of the pedigree, by crossing the three female lines to produce beautiful hounds with tremendous field ability. A strive for perfection!