North Country Beagle

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Great Britain
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
Few records remain describing the appearance of the North Country Beagle, except that it resembled the Southern Hound, the English Foxhound and the modern Harrier. It has been said that the North Country Beagle was shorter than the Southern Hound and had larger bones, although it was still able to run long distances and was known to be an athletic breed. They had no dewlap even though they were known to have loose skin without wrinkles.
They would sniff and follow a trail for hours without tiring and were determined, extremely fast and purposeful when hunting. They were known to get along with other dogs, but were not trusted with other animals. Compared to its ancestors, this dog was also probably friendly towards humans.

The North Country Beagle was one of England's oldest dog breeds. Because this dog is so old, not much is known about its origin. We know they were located in the area between the Scottish border and the River Trent, but as the North Country Beagle was popular before records were kept, experts can only speculate on the breed's history. Some say the North Country Beagle descended from other British dogs, while others agree that the North Country Beagle was bred in the 11th century from dogs brought over by the Normans. No one knows for sure which theory is correct.

One theory is that the North Country Beagle has existed in England since before the Roman period and was developed by the pre-Roman Celtic people. During this time, one of the main commercial aspects in England was hunting dogs that were similar to the North Country Beagle. If this is true, it means that the North Country Beagle has been around in England longer than some people thought. If they weren't North Country Beagles, some say they were probably Terriers or Spaniels. It is said that the North Country Beagle closely resembles the modern Beagle, which is still very popular in England, but there is still no proof of where they came from or what they looked like today.
The other popular theory is that the North Country Beagle was bred from dogs imported from France in 1066 by Norman conquerors descended from the Vikings. In this theory, it is said that the North Country Beagle was crossed with various other French breeds such as the Bloodhound, Grand Bleu de Gascogne and Chien de Saint Hubert, possibly with a few other British Greyhounds. It then spread throughout the region, mainly to England and Wales. Others say the North Country Beagle was a descendant of the Talbot breed. Talbots were extremely similar to Bloodhounds, but they were white. It's unclear whether the Talbot was in fact a native French breed or originated with the Anglo-Saxons. Yet there is no evidence that the North Country Beagle was or was not related to the Talbot.

According to records, there were two types of dog that were split by River Trent. They were simply known as the Northern Hound, which is the same as the North Country Beagle, and the Southern Hound. Since these two regions on either side of the River Trent never crossed for political reasons, some say that the North Country Beagle is simply the original native British dog, while the Southern Hound was bred by crossing the North Country Beagle with dogs found in this Region. Indeed, the Southern Hound appears to be more similar to the Bloodhound, with more wrinkled skin and dewlap on the chest, while also having North Country Beagle traits. Because both the North Country Beagle and the Southern Hound are now extinct, no one will ever know the real answer.
We still don't know if the North Country Beagle was developed around the 1200s, or if it existed for thousands of years before the 1200s.

The North Country Beagle was known among the nobility as one of the preferred scent hounds to train and use for the popular sport of hunting. In Europe at the time, hunting was a means of demonstrating political and social power over other nations. Friendships, political alliances and personal bonds were formed by hunting together. Land was set aside specifically for hunting, and it was illegal for the lower class to own hunting dogs.
In northern England, the North Country Beagle was one of the most popular pack dogs used above the River Trent. They were used to hunt game such as deer, wild boar, foxes and wolves.

Due to political and agricultural changes in England, hunting was changed forever. New crops were being imported, which meant that more land was cultivated and less was used as hunting land. The population of deer, wild boar and other frequently hunted game was now smaller than it had ever been. This meant that hunting was less frequent than before. These changes, however, facilitated the growth of the red fox population. Red foxes were now considered vermin, as they destroyed crops, hunted farmers' lamb, stole eggs, injured horses and cattle and killed chickens. Because red foxes were now compared to rats and other vermin, the red fox was not hunted by the nobility until the 1500s.
Since red foxes were a huge problem for farmers, they began illegally keeping scent hounds such as the North Country Beagle to get rid of the troublesome vermin. Many poor farmers only owned one or two North Country Beagles, although in the 1500s farmers began to band together and keep packs of up to 10-20 scent dogs. Most of these scent hounds were probably North Country Beagles, while others were mixed breeds. The new popular sport became foxhunting, created by farmers. The nobility soon appropriated this sport and once again adopted the North Country Beagle.

Since the North Country Beagle didn't have the best nose for foxhunting, the gentry began using other dogs such as the Southern Hound, which was popular south of the River Trent. They mixed the Southern Hound with the North Country Beagle and other breeds such as Greyhounds, Bulldogs, Terriers and Colleys. Thanks to this breeding, the nobility created the English Foxhound, which began to replace both the North Country Beagle and the Southern Hound.
The North Country Beagle was crossed with the English Foxhound so many times that it began to resemble that breed. The original North Country Beagle had almost completely disappeared and was last written about in 1809 in The British Encyclopedia written by William Nicholson.
Some believe that North Country Beagle blood still lives on in other breeds such as Beagles, Harriers and the English Foxhound. Others believe that the North Country Beagle was simply no longer used and disappeared completely as a breed. Another group of people think that the North Country Beagle has little to do with the new dog breeds. Nor is it certain when exactly the North Country Beagle became extinct. Some say they were extinct by the early 1800s, others say the North Country Beagle was extinct by the 1820s, and some say they existed as long ago as 1859.

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