In the last week, I have been asked by three different people what Beagle Hunting is! I’m always talking about it on Twitter, and I just assume everyone knows ;)

So… what is beagle hunting?

Well, beagles are dogs, right…? This much we know ;) They are scent hounds and originally bred to hunt small game like rabbits and hare. Beagles are the “poor mans hunting hound” and hunt with their humans on foot, not on horseback.

Here’s a little snippet on the breed, from Wikipedia:

The Beagle is a breed of small to medium-sized dog. A member of the Hound Group, it is similar in appearance to the Foxhound but smaller, with shorter legs and longer, softer ears. Beagles are scent hounds, developed primarily for tracking hare, rabbit, and other game. They have a keen sense of smell and tracking instinct that sees them employed as detection dogs for prohibited agricultural imports and foodstuffs in quarantine around the world. They are popular as pets because of their size, even temper, and lack of inherited health problems. These characteristics also make them the dog of choice for animal testing.

Although beagle-type dogs have existed for over 2,000 years, the modern breed was developed in Great Britain around the 1830s from several breeds, including the Talbot Hound, the North Country Beagle, the Southern Hound, and possibly the Harrier.

Beagles have been depicted in popular culture since Elizabethan times in literature and paintings, and more recently in film, television and comic books. Snoopy of the comic strip Peanuts has been promoted as “the world’s most famous beagle”

Right – so back to the hunting.

Every second Sunday morning, in winter only, beagle huggers from all over Gauteng get together in the Schurveberg mountains near Zwartkops to let their beagles do what beagles do best… track a scent!

We use a bag of pilchards to lay the scent.

When we arrive, all the beagles get their bibs put on, with numbers – so when they come to the end, the guys who do the scores can tell who is who, and who comes in first etc… as I am so often told “all beagles look the same” hehe. So, they are all bibbed ;)

The huntmaster goes around to each beagle and scents them, giving them a whiff of the smelly lure of pilchards. The huntmaster and his small party head off into the hills and valleys for about a 1km walk… all the while, dragging the lure behind them.

Once they have reached a point where they can conceal themselves in a clump of trees or behind some rocks etc… they signal to us at the start, and we all line up.

The beagles go WILD at this point.. much howling, barking and baying… lots of excitement and adrenaline! There is a 3, 2, 1 countdown, a whistle is blown, and we release.

we all stay crouched down and quiet, while the pack runs off, noses to the ground, after the scent. The more baying and howling there is on the line, the better it is going. Noise = good!! They are on the scent. We watch them run up the mountain, or thru the valley, or whichever way the huntmaster has gone.

As they start coming in, the group at the end records who comes in where… they normally come in in groups.

Once all the beagles are off the line, we walk to the end point, meet up with the huntmaster and the beagles, we check that all the beagles are accounted for (sometimes they turn back on the line, or decide to go for a little walk… but we are all reunited within 10 minutes!) The scores are read, the beagles have a drink, and it starts all over again.

We do 5 lines in a morning. We start at 7am and are done by about 10am.

There is a lot of noise (as demonstrated by my little boy and hunting machine, Oscar)

a lot of running and very happy tired beagles!

During the season, we have a few breakfasts out in the veld after some hunts… the people are awesome, and i’ve made a lot of really cool friends from the hunts! :D

The beagles are so exhausted after hunting, they usually spend the whole of the following monday curled up and fast asleep

At the very end of the season, the ten beagles with the highest points are invited to do a Top ten Challenge. It is one long line, of about 5 to 7km, with just the top ten beagles of the group. Other beagles may come and watch, and socialise afterwards. Last year, my little Oscar made Top Ten!! Harry *just* missed it (he placed 13th… out of about 100 beagles!!!!!!!!!!!!)

– The 2009 Top Ten :beagles from left:  Sam, Leo, Matthew, Maya, Roti, Poppadom, Oscar, Jet & Roger (the 10th beagle couldn’t make the event as he was sick on the day)

We also have a swanky prize giving after all the hunts are done and scores calculated. The 2009 event was at Woodmead country Club. We get to brush off the dust, pack away our dirty hunting clothes and get all dolled up! It’s a fancy dinner and certificates and rosettes and prizes and trophies!!

So… THAT is beagle hunting :) It is TONS of fun… i love it (apart from waking up at 5:30am on a Wintery Sunday morning) and i love my beagles… and i love other beagle owners… we are all so cool and friendly! hehe!!

If you have a beagle, or are interested in getting one, or know someone who has one… please stop at www.beagles.co.za and check it out!

We have become a very tight little (or not so little, with over 140 beagles on our database) group and i look forward to seeing all my beagle friends and giving cuddles to all the beagles :)

Tags: ,


For the last 10 days or so, my youngest child Beagle, Oscar has had a small sore on his leg. He is constantly licking it, so much so, that all the fur is gone and it was very very red and raw. Just not getting better. I popped into the vet on Friday, to see what they had to say about it – I was worried coz it had been going on too long, without getting better (constant licking not helping!)

The vet (a new one at Crowthorne Vet – she was VERY pretty and very sweet!) gave me some stuff to clean the little wound and some ointment to put on 3 times a day. But the most entertaining thing, was, the plastic collar she gave us to stop him from licking! You know those cone things that make the dog look all sorry for himself? Ja – Oscar got one of those! I told her that Harry was going to laugh at poor Oskie when we got home… she suggested I get one for Harry too! Hehe!!


Anyway, we get home, and Harry gets such a fright when he sees his brother with this thing on! It was hilarious! The beagles then proceeded to run around and frolick with each other as normal! The “cone” is tied around the dogs neck with a piece of bandage, which Harry thought was a great chew toy, and kept loosening the bow that kept the cone on!


even though Oscar can still do everything he normally does (except fit through the bars of the security door to get in/out… he manages to look VERY sorry for himself! It’s very funny.

Poor Sausage!

Poor Sausage!

He can still chew his toys:

Om nom

Om nom

He can still cuddle on the couch:

Zzz-zzz

Zzz-zzz

He can even still wolf down his dinner!

Nom nom crunch nom nom crunch

Nom nom crunch nom nom crunch

This afternoon we had my folks over for lunch, and they brought my 9 year old nephew with (who LOVES the beagles) … he thought this whole cone thing was too funny, and proceeded to give Oscar all the attention and tickles on the couch. He was calling Oscar “The Lamp” the whole time, coz the cone makes him look like a lampshade… especially when he sits up for his tickles…

Tickles for "The Lamp"

Tickles for "The Lamp"

The Lamp getting ahead scratch

The Lamp getting ahead scratch

The Lamp checking out who is giving all the tickles

The Lamp checking out who is giving all the tickles

It’s very entertaining to watch this silly beagle with his lamp shade on his head! … on the plus side, his sore is getting a chance to dry out and is looking much better! It was never anything to worry about, but it does need to dry out and form a scab to heal!

In the mean time, we’re enjoying giggling at our Conehead Beagle!

Tags: , , ,


Our Star Beagles: One, a superSTAR… the other, a disaSTAR! ;)

So, this morning, the 4 of us trekked off to Goldfields in Bedfordview again, to try our hands at an Open Agility Show again. It was hosted by the Collie Club to raise money.

We (@peter_vs and I) decided – after our dismal performance at the last show – that we would take a treat on the course and automatically disqualify ourselves. (The reason being, that we wanted the beagles to at least stay with us, and finish the course, instead of just running off to sniff on their own mission. The grounds are unfamiliar to them, so we just need to keep trying and we’ll get there soon enough!).


First up, was the contact course… Peter & Oscar did very very well! And Harry & I also did pretty well (Harry missed the tyre jump and was a bit silly at the weaving poles).

Then we did the non-contact course… Harry did fantastically until about the 8th obstacle (8 out of 16) and then went off to some guys who were eating burgers on the side! Oscar did very nicely and Peter decided to leave the treat off the course in the Dog Jumping round.

Dog Jumping is very similar to Show Jumping in the horse world. All the dogs who get a clear round in the same class move onto a jump off. So, Harry was a complete idiot, and stopped to sniff EVERY SINGLE weave pole… up and down! Arrrrggg!! Oscar and Peter did BRILLIANTLY!!!! Without a treat and were the ONLY pair in our class with a clear round… which means… FIRST PLACE!! WOO HOO!! So, Oscar got a rosette, a toy, and a signature on his card (He needs 3 signatures for 1st place to move onto the next grade)

First Place at the Show!

First Place at the Show!

I am so very proud of Peter and Oscar!! Although, I have to say, that I am very proud of Harry too… even though he was a complete dumbass, it was still much much MUCH better than our last attempt! And it WILL continue to improve each time :)


Here is the Champion SuperStar Beagle…

SuperStar!!


Everyone was so supportive and proud of us too! Beagles are not very common in the agility world, because they are so hard to train, especially in agility.

So, all in all… yay for us!


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


So, finally!!! I have gotten around to my first post! Yay :)

I’ve had this blog for what seems like forever, so it is high time to write something on it! Every time I meet someone at a TweetUp or 27Dinner they are completely horrified to learn that I don’t have a blog! But now, I do.

You’ll see the buttons on the left will categorize my random ramblings into the groups about Design Stuff (my job), Dog Stuff (my hobby and children), Font Stuff (aaah, fonts, how I love fonts! Have you seen my FontGirl outfit?), Other Stuff (not work, dogs or fonts) and My Recommended Sites (other sites I work on, or spend a lot of time at). <side note> The buttons will only work once I have written a post in that category… So give me a bit of time :)

So, this post is a dog related one.

I have 2 beagles, Harry and Oscar and I train very seriously with them (well, as serious as I can be). Last week, one of my trainers asked me if I would be interested in giving puppy lessons at her puppy school in Kyalami! She was going away and needed someone to step in for a week. WOW! How chuffed was I!
I gave the lesson this morning. I won’t bore you with all the gory details of everything we did, but it really was so much fun! I was a bit nervous, as I am not an animal behaviourist or anything… but both of my dogs have been through the syllabus at Puppyland. I have never really been in any “position of power/command” it was pretty strange having people listen to every word I had to say and asking me advice and stuff. Especially strange feeling for me having people much older than me asking for my “expert opinion” – haha! Of course, I handles the situation exceptionally gracefully and imparted my knowledge onto my eager little students ;)

I think I have figured out the reason I enjoyed it so much… bear with me here: When I was in Primary School, all I wanted to do was be a Grade 2 teacher. It was my goal in life and it was all I could think of. I had my classroom planned, posters, games, the whole toot! But the older I became, especially into my twenties, I realised that I don’t actually like kids all that much – I MUCH prefer animals – particularly dogs. So, in essence, puppy socialising and training is basically Grade 2 for dogs! Could it BE more perfect!? It is, like, my dream job! – Even if it is only part time!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,