A lively litter of modern English cross Anglo-Francais hound puppies will soon be making their way across the channel to embark on a future career hunting in France.
Twinned with the Rallye Amor Hunt, the South Devon Hunt agreed to breed a litter for hunt master Mickaël Perennez who runs his Manoir de Trolan kennels in Plesidy, Brittany.
"The two hunts have had good relations for a many years and visit each other to hunt annually," said South Devon huntsman Ian Pearse. "They lease the sporting rights on three different forests and hunt red deer," added Ian who noted the Rallye Amor work with Anglo-Francais Tricolores – one of the Anglo-French hound breeds which were created by crossing French scenthounds with English (Anglo) foxhounds.
Describing the breed, Ian said: "They are much darker and quite a bit bigger than our foxhounds. They have long faces and big ears – they are quite attractive in a funny sort of way – and they have much more volume with their very very deep voices which sounds spectacular when hunting."
The Rallye Amor are keen to inject some English foxhound blood into their pack for added drive.
"Mickaël is interested in our hounds as they have more drive than a French hound – they push on and are quicker," explained Ian who noted that in the past five years they have sent a litter of pure English modern foxhounds and several more unentered foxhounds to France for Mickaël to breed from.
"For a bit of fun they have sent us a hound back in return," he added.
Entered in 2010, Elysée is a fine-looking Anglo-Francais Tricolore bitch. "She is lovely and everyone likes her but she does not fit in very well with our hounds as she is of a different type."
It was agreed that Elysée would be put in whelp to one of Ian's own foxhounds – South Devon Stilton.
"Stilton is a very good hound for hunting and is also dark in colour so we felt he would be a perfect match," said Ian who breeds all his own replacements – three or four litters a year.
In her whelping lodge at the South Devon kennels, Elysée produced ten puppies – eight bitches and two dogs – on January 21.
"She's done well and it's a nice size litter," said Ian who noted that the energetic pups are now eating solid food as well as still being on their mother.
"We'll wean them at about eight weeks old and prepare them for going to France in April," he added.
"I'm sure Mickaël will be pleased with this bunch – they'll grow into a nice looking French hound but with a different engine."