The Keswick Hunt Club Kennels are home to approximately 30 couple of American Fox Hounds. Some can trace their ancestry back to hounds that hunted in the early 1960’s when Robert Coles was Master of Fox Hounds. Many of Coles’ hounds were purchased from private packs.
Coles’ successor John J. Carle established and maintained an organized breeding program throughout his 35 years as huntsman and MFH. Jake, as he was known to every Keswick member, sought advice from and used sires recommended by: Albert Poe, Huntsman at Piedmont, Fairfax and Middleburg; Warren Harrover, Bull Run Huntsman and MFH; Buster Chadwell, Essex Huntsman; and other expert huntsmen and breeders of American Fox Hounds.
Piedmont Render ’68 was an especially influential sire who appears in pedigrees of many KHC hounds. Another outside sire whose influence continues to be appreciated was J. T. Murtagh’s Boxer ’86, a Penn-Marydel member of the Rose Tree Hunt pack.
Paul Wilson, Keswick’s current Professional Huntsman, guides the pack throughout the hunt. He was born in South Shields, near Newcastle in northeast England. Wilson ascended through the ranks of hunt service in England, Ireland, Italy, Pennsylvania, and Canada before coming to Keswick.
Paul continues Jake Carle’s bloodlines, emphasizing the behavioral quality of eagerness to please which is important in riot-proofing and coming home with all hounds on. Paul handles his hounds from the day they are whelped, and his puppies walk out with the rest of the pack off couples by the end of April.
The Keswick pack has maintained a high level of performance in the hunting field for many years. Though Paul treats hound shows as no more than a brief diversion, KHC hounds have recently won championships in the ring.