Click for Previous Page
THE BLOODHOUND, THE ST HUBERT & THE FCI continued
Let us look a little further at how this situation came about, and then, with this in mind, consider the history of the Bloodhound in Britain. The process by which Belgium was able to claim to be the country of origin of the Bloodhound is as follows.  During the later part of the 19th Century the Bloodhound had been loosely referred to, by some people and in some circumstances, as the Chien de St Hubert, for reasons which will be explained.  If the Bloodhound and the Chien de St Hubert were the same, then the Chien de St Hubert must go back to St Hubert himself, who was Bishop of Liège in the 7th Century, earlier than any appearance of the Bloodhound in English references.  St Hubert, the patron saint of hunting, is of course important in Belgium, whose canine organisation is the Union Cynologique Saint-Hubert which was one of the founder members of the FCI.  It is not surprising therefore that (I believe in 1966) the FCI should have recognised, not the Bloodhound, but the Chien de St Hubert, and accepted the Belgian claim, in the absence of any counter claim from Britain, a non-member.  It is fair to say that the confusion of the Bloodhound with the Chien de St Hubert is largely due to one person, the French Comte Le Couteulx de Canteleu, a 19th century Bloodhound owner and breeder.  He was a tremendous enthusiast for the British Bloodhound, and bought many of the best known hounds which appear in our early pedigrees.  He was also a great enthusiast for the French tradition in hunting, which he described in two books La Vénerie Française 1858, and Manuel de Vénerie Française, 1890.  He wanted to re-establish the reputation and independence of French hunting, which had fallen into a decline since the Revolution, and which, according to him, only ceasing to be subordinate to English hunting by about 1830.  He also wished to was reintroduce the Chien de St Hubert, which had been an important hound in ancient French tradition, but which had died out in France.  ‘In France, there are hardly any to be found, and even those which might still be met with in the Ardennes or the surrounding area are crossed to such an extent that they no longer have the characteristics of the breed.’  (Manuel p32)