A Potted History of The 'Pot-Hunter.'
By Jeff

The Lurcher and Tumbler types of athletic hunting dog's function was to provide meat for the cooking pot, by using a combination of stealth, brain, nose agility and speed. They hunted by both scent and sight being more fundamental and ancient than the specialist pure Sighthounds. They have occurred throughout the whole world since time immemorial.

However, it was in defiance of the repressive Norman Forest and Game Laws, designed to enslave the indigenous population into serfdom that they were perfected as the ultimate stealth poaching dog of rebel outlaws. (Later adopted by the Gypsies.)

They have never been breeds in the modern sense of emanating from the limited gene - pool of a closed stud book. However, certain strains have retained distinctive types, dictated by function, whilst incorporating creative outcrosses throughout history. (The Smithfield, 180 years ago for example). Both the Celtic Greyhound and Sheepdog had a major influence upon the ancient blood lines. (The Celts arrived in Europe about 800 BC).

Originally, the same dog would be called a Greyhound or Lurcher depending upon whether owned by a Norman Lord or an outlaw. It is the modern Greyhound which has moved away from the original type by becoming a pure Sighthound sporting dog, to provide betting and entertainment for a society no longer dependent on hunting for meat. The Lurcher has retained the more fundamental form with brain and nose.

There are no accurate historical references to Lurchers or Tumblers, because their function was illegal and their outlaw masters illiterate consequently much ignorant nonsense has been and unfortunately still is being written about them, by literate but unknowledgeable academics.

The descriptions ( because that's what they are) Lurcher and Tumbler originally differentiated between two styles of taking their quarry employed by stealth poaching dogs, whose function was to fill the cooking pot. The penalty for detection was execution for man and dog. Sagacity, loyalty and trainability were indispensable and they resided, out of sight, inside the dwelling as part of the family.

Their consequential character has today endeared them as ideal companions and family pets. Unfortunately, this recent popularity has led to indiscriminate breeding of imitations, derived from today's show breeds and the sporting dogs of their old adversaries the Landed Gentry, who could afford the luxury of coursing things around the countryside for display and entertainment. Brains and stealth were not a requirement. The result is 'broken glass for brains and whilst the lights are on upstairs there is nobody at home!' Their untrainability and uncontrollable light trigger to chase and kill ( indiscriminately) make today's impostors unsuitable as family pets and the opposite of the original old-fashioned stealth poaching dog, who had to be trained not to chase if anybody was about.

The last remnants of the various ancient bloodlines have been rescued from the threat of extinction, when made redundant through the evil man-created Myxomatosis, by blending them together into an all round Lurcher/Tumbler. The Lurcher and Tumbler Welfare and Breed Club was formed with an objective of educating the public to discriminate between the useful character associated with these original old-fashioned poaching bloodlines and the anything cross a Greyhound mentality.

Copyright retained by Jeff April 2003

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