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a group of breeds of hunting dogs known since antiquity. They are descended from ancient sporting dogs; in Russia, they have been known since the tenth century by the name tiavkushki (yelpers). Hounds use their sense of smell to track animals and chase them barking loudly. During the chase, hounds may travel as much as 120 km in one day of hunting, demonstrating great speed. There are about 40 breeds of hounds in the world.
In the USSR there are three breeds: the Russian hound, the spotted Russian hound, and the Estonian hound. The Russian hound developed as a breed in the 19th century and has been significantly perfected by Soviet dog breeders. Contemporary Russian hounds are large dogs of strong build. The males stand 57–65 cm high at the shoulders and the females 54–62 cm. The head has an elongated muzzle and short, drooping ears; the tail is saber-shaped and usually hangs down. The paws are large. The dog has a dense coat with a thick undercoat. The coloration is light reddish-yellow, pale yellow, or brown with a gray, reddish brown, or black back. This is the most common dog breed in the USSR.
The spotted Russian hound was bred by crossing the Russian hound with the English foxhound and several other western breeds (formerly called the Anglo-Russian hound). It was recognized as a breed in 1925. This dog is not inferior to the Russian hound in height, build, or work capacity. The spotted Russian hound is distinguished by shorter fur, whose coloration is white with black, gray, or reddish-yellow spots. The tail is curved sharply upward. This is the second most popular breed in the USSR.
The Estonian hound was bred in the Estonian SSR by crossing local hounds with English beagles, English foxhounds, and Swiss hounds. The breed was recognized in 1954. The Estonian hound is small. The males stand 42–52 cm high at the shoulders, and the females, 39–49 cm. The head has clearly delineated eyebrow arches. The ears are long and drooping, and the tail is gently curved upward. The fur is black and white with reddish-yellow spots. The breed is found mainly in the Baltic republics. In the Latvian SSR work is being done to develop a Latvian hound.
There are approximately 80,000 hounds in the USSR. Of the many breeds of hounds raised in England, the USA, France, and other countries, the most popular is the English beagle.
E. I. SHERESHEVSKII