IMFHA - The Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association
The Voice of Foxhunting in Ireland since 1859

WELCOME TO STRADBALLY HOUND SHOW 2012 - Sunday, July 1st 2012

RESULTS 2012 | Show Conditions | Entry Form


Beagles and foxhounds are similar in appearance but beagles are smaller. They are both judged in the same way. The hounds are encouraged to gallop across the ring by the Huntsman throwing biscuits to enable the judge to see how they move. The judges also need to see the hounds standing to be able to assess their conformation.

A show provides an opportunity to study the conformation of many varieties of hounds. The physical attributes of hounds dictates their pace, stamina and longevity – all important qualities in the hunting field. The judges cannot assess hunting qualities of drive, voice, stamina and scenting ability (the power of their noses) but they can assess the athleticism of hounds. They are looking for a hound whose structure suggests it can produce the maximum exertion with the minimum effort – a canine athlete.

The show classes are divided by sex: doghounds in the morning; bitches in the afternoon.
The classes are in three parts:
1. Those for ‘unentered’ hounds which have yet to go hunting.
2. Those for ‘entered’ hounds which have completed at least one seasons hunting (often in ‘couples’ or ‘two couples’ i.e. four hounds)
3. Those for stallion hounds or brood bitches which are for hounds certified to be the parents of living puppies.


Judges look for Movement, Shoulders, Hindquarters, Legs and Feet.
MOVEMENT is the most important quality in assessing a hound’s conformation. Good movement allows a hound to cover many miles per week repeatedly throughout the season. Physical points that help are heart room with deep ribs to the point of the elbow, sloping shoulders, an ‘engine room’, good legs and feet.
SHOULDERS These should be sloping not straight. This allows a longer stride for movement uninterrupted by too wide a rib cage.
HINDQUARTERS ‘the engine room’. Length of hip and hock produces speed. The spine and pelvis are the ‘drive shaft’ between front and rear. Muscle either side of the spine should cover the backbone. The hindquarters should swing outside the front when the hound gallops.
LEGS AND FEET Legs and feet should be relatively straight but not excessively so with compact feet showing even wear. Knees should not buckle over but the reverse is acceptable as a ‘shock absorber’.



Reproduced by kind permission of the artist, Rosemary Coates.

A good moving hound lengthens his stride effortlessly to increase pace whereas in a bad mover the stride is jerky. Watch hounds gallop across the ring and count the strides. See how effortlessly the ground is covered by the good mover. A sign of balance is when a hound appears free in motion but stands with equal weight on all four feet. Refinements which catch the eye are length of neck which compliments the shoulder and no exaggerated roach on the spine. The stern (tail) should be well set on its end rather than ‘curly’ – bent over.

Hound colour should not be a factor. Hounds should be in muscular not fat condition and be happy and confident in strange conditions. Much time is necessary to prepare hounds for showing and the season ahead. Watch how the Huntsman handles his charges and the person on the end of the leads is of particular importance. Unlike a dog show the Huntsman producing the hounds does not handle or lead his exhibits – they must be shown loose with only his assistant (the whipper-in) – holding the leads. Considerable skill is needed to show hounds alert and confident.

The morning culminates in a doghound championship; the afternoon with a bitch championship.

If you have any questions or wish to know more, please ask any of the Hunt Staff wearing hunting clothes or the Stewards or email us at:

Show schedule | Show Conditions | Entry Form