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Hounds of the World by David Alderton, photography by Bruce Tanner

If you like dogs and especially hounds, this is a beautiful book with fabulous colour photographs of different breeds of hound found throughout the world. There is a colourful map of the world at the beginning which shows very clearly which hound originated from where.

According to the first chapter of the book: 'In the Beginning', the origins of today's hounds closely parallels the former distribution of the Grey Wolf. Looking at the map, one can see that the vast majority of hounds originated north of the equator, where the grey wolf used to be the most widely-distributed of the larger mammals. 

The fly leaf of this book sums it up nicely:
'The grouping of dogs known as hounds includes some of the world's oldest breeds. In many cases their origins date back thousands of years, with the earliest evidence of their existence coming from Egypt, where portrayals of hounds with a striking similarity to certain contemporary breeds have been noted on ancient artefacts. Over the years, many new breeds of hound have been developed for a variety of purposes. They have also been evolved to work in a wide range of landscapes, with some, such as the greyhound, being bred for their pace, while many, like the beagle and bloodhound, are valued for their scenting skills and stamina.

This book concentrates solely on this popular group of breeds, many of which are now widely kept as companion dogs because of their friendly and intelligent natures. It features superb photographs of hounds outdoors in their natural environments, as well as close-up portrayals of individual dogs. All the photographs have been taken especially for this book. The text adopts a chronological approach to its subject, explaining the development of the hound lineage and the different types of hound that have been bred down the centuries. Mention is made of breeds that are now extinct, such as the original form of the St Hubert hounds, and their legacy as reflected in contemporary breeds. There is also detailed coverage of all today's hound breeds, set in the context of their geographical origins. Their ancestries and characteristics are discussed, making this book an invaluable and comprehensive source of reference.'

I couldn't put it any better than that - it truly is a stunning piece of work. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the colour photographs which really do capture the character of each hound. No photos of hounds in show poses here! Just hounds in their natural stance.

Contributed by Sonia Bryant

Information and photographs gleaned from:-
Hounds of the World by David Alderton, photography by Bruce Tanner 

(Published 9th Dec 2014)

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