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  • Writer's pictureTim Hackworth

Why Wait?

I remember years ago I was discussing breeding one of my hounds with John New, breeder of the New City Beagles.  I said something about breeding this particular promising young female the next year.  John immediately asked “why wait?”  His comment was that life is fragile and short, so if you know you want to breed that hound, why wait until next year?  And he was right.  Many good hounds have been lost in some way and never had the opportunity to add their influence to the gene pool.  Sometimes you hear a breeder say “that line got away from me”, or something like that.  Waiting to breed a good one can cause you to lose a valuable line.  When I am sure one suits me afield, I start planning to breed.  And this is particularly true with females, who have a somewhat shorter reproductive life and often should start sooner.

There are some who believe hounds produce their best offspring when younger, a theory that may have some merit.  The great foxhound breeder Ben Hardaway stated he liked to breed hounds when they were younger, and would always use a young male with an old female, and vice versa, but preferred that neither were of advanced age.  Younger hounds are likely to have healthier eggs and sperm, so that may be part of the reason for attention to age, and we know some will claim a female’s first litter will often be her best.  It’s a theory I generally follow if at all possible, although sometimes two older hounds are all you have!

Ben Hardaway’s book “Never Outfoxed” contains a lot of good breeding advice and is just an entertaining read as well.

Photo: Ben Hardaway with his Midland Foxhounds after a kill


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