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History of "Gay Hound" beagle

Copied from http://boonescreekbeagles.com/gay.html

Frank  Reese was born May 24, 1906, the oldest of nine children that grew up  on a farm in Taylorsville, North Carolina. The Reeses were avid church  goers and Frank Reese taught the adult Sunday School class for 50  years.  In 1927 Frank began teaching in public schools which he  continued until he was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1935. Ironically,  Frank had written a book about tuberculosis several years earlier.  For  15 years he sold dog food for the Rose Company in a five state area. He  was a State Law Enforcement Officer for 20 years, and was secretary of  the Alexander County Wildlife Club, which he organized. Frank Reese held  many other positions in community organizations such as the Ellendale  Grange and the Alexander County Sunday School Association. In 1965, the  University of North Carolina listed him in "Who's Who in North  Carolina," he served on an Advisory Commission for Governor Jim Hunt,  and he wrote many editorials for the Chase magazine of Lexington,  Kentucky. He was an occasional contributor of articles for "Better  Beagling" and "The Rabbit Hunter" magazines. In 1946 Frank Reese  organized the Old Tar Heel AKC Beagle Club and helped organize the Tar  Heel Small Pack Club.

Frank became interested in  foxhounds about 1918 and for many years did about all one could do with a  foxhound at private hunts. He judged his first foxhound field trial in  Georgia in 1929 and later judged major field trials, bench shows, and  national foxhound field trials all over the United States. It was hard  for him to give up, but due to health he went to Beagles.

Frank's  family had Beagles from 1910 - 1930, which were a bench legged type  mixed with farm dogs. It was a long hard road to come up with a good  family of Beagles. Frank soon found out you had to breed them, and it  was years before he found out you had to stay in the same family and  breed to a family of good ones and not to the only good one in the  family. Frank said that he had bought his first registered Beagle in  1938. Being registered as Gay Belle, he adopted the prefix "Gay" for all  his Beagles after that and only used one other short name following it.  He said that he had seen so many long names on foxhounds that he  decided to keep his names short in the Beagle pedigree. Frank Reese said  that Gay Belle was about 12" tall and had good conformation, except she  was a "... bit foxy in the muzzle." Frank noted in a letter that Gay  Belle was "... a bit tight with her mouth but (was) dead game and when  run all day up front with our young Walker foxhounds." Gay Belle's  family carried the Amawalk-Burrfied lines.

Next  came Gay Rose (Dumbarton Dix x Dry Creek Primrose). From this cross came  Shaws Clipper and Rose O Dix (Futurity). Belle and Rose would leave for  the hills with young Walker Foxhounds and run rabbits for three days  before returning home. Both were fast and dead game, but would hold a  check and walk if necessary. They never gave false bark and never ran  one step backtrack. Starting with these two, for more than half a  century, his bitches went out to what were thought to be the best sires,  with some of the better early crosses on Young's Ringer, Rolcap Smokey,  Contentnea Jack and Charmac Gay Boy. The show blood was a great help in  type, intelligence, line control and positive nose. It was a struggle  to keep some of the good traits of this foundation blood.

Schooled  the hard way by training for leading kennels during the Dual Champion  Age and running the Old Tar Heel with its first licensed trial running a  record class of 98 (with handlers from Maine to Texas) 13" bitches,  there was an early demand for excellence. Three times the breeding  program was completely stopped due to illness, but each time the bitch  line was maintained, and ran eight to ten generations without a break.  Crossing back on lines Gay Slide was produced, a great running hound.  Bred to Patterson's Little King, she produced seven good ones that would  not run deer. All the locals used the King x Slide males. Gay Charm  produced well on Dumpy and High Rock Ranger, and Gay Fury x FC William's  Pointline Buddy, produced 15 good ones, including Gay Baker. Gay Baker  was whelped in 1973, during the time efforts were being made to reclaim  the AKC Beagle as a hunting dog. This was also during the time the  Watergate affair was making news. Frank named him Gay Baker after  Senator Howard Baker. Gay Baker is the famous one! Frank said that Baker  was "... an absolute jump dog. He knew where to find rabbits, and he  had an uncanny knack of producing a rabbit in short order." Also, Frank  indicated that Baker was a top notch "pack dog and he had the quality of  gameness that he had always bred for, because he would stick right in  there and run just as long as he was left down, no matter how long that  might be." Gay Baker became a tremendous running hound. He ran up front  and you could pick him up any time in a hard fast run. Few males and no  bitch ever finished a race with him if the running ran all day or all  night. Hunters came from far and near to pit packs with him. Perhaps he  is the most well known Gay hound of all.

One thing  Mr. Reese always insisted on in his hounds as excellent conformation as  well as excellent running qualities. Gay Baker had the ability to  reproduce his good qualities in his offspring a high percentage of the  time. Frank Reese advertised Gay Baker at stud for a time, with an ad of  such found dated early 1980. Baker was advertised as being 13-1/8" tall  and the stud fee was $100.00. Reese confided in a friend that he hated  the hassle of having a stud dog and never did advertise his phone number  in Baker's ad, but he said it didn't do any good because the general  beagling public called him at all hours regarding Baker anyway.

Gay  Cindy had failed on a couple of crosses and more or less in disgust was  bred to Gay Baker, thinking the offspring would be no good anyway. From  this cross came Gay Flag and Gay Flash and others of note. Gay Cindy  went on to produce eight litters by Gay Baker and when these hounds hit  the pack trials (SPO), they put Gay Baker on the map. Gay Baker hounds  have gone out to compete favorably from Canada to the Deep South, in  large pack and small pack option; on hare, cottontail, and swampers".

Many  hounds carry Gay Baker in their pedigree. Gay Baker made his mark on  gun dog beagling and many hunters declare Gay Baker as the greatest  hound ever hunted with. Many, many hunting hounds and Small Pack Option  hounds, in addition to the Gay hounds, also trace back to Gay Baker  today. He was covered up with bitches from his first stud advertisement,  with bitches coming a thousand miles from both North and South. It was a  tough decision to offer a hound with no trial record after so many  years of breeding only to field and bench champions. One time he had  eight bitches waiting, twice he had six waiting. Other times they came  almost daily. One man drove 300 miles and ran him two days and bred a  bitch and tried to get Frank to price him. When Frank arrived home from  church the following Sunday, the man was back, waiting with three  bitches.

After the great rush on Baker came, in  order to get some relief from public pressure he leased Baker for a year  to Don Riley (Country Road Beagles) in Virginia. Breeders were furious  for letting Baker go to Virginia as Riley would not take shipped  bitches. Gay Baker was also offered at stud by Country Road Beagles of  Heathsville, Virginia later in 1980 for a short time. This may have  given Baker a little added exposure and produced some hounds of note in  the state of Virginia and the East. This was only a year before Gay  Baker died in 1981, at the age of 8, so his career at stud was cut short  by a rather early death. Gay Baker died from an injury from a minor  accident. Baker probably bred more bitches than any hound ever, with no  show or field win. He came at the right time and exploded the theory  that a stud needs to be in a certain area or have titles to stand  (successfully). Frank never ran Gay Baker at trials as the modern brace  was upon him and he had not yet entered the pack trials. However, he was  braced with a small pack winner and the results set the future course.

With  Frank's improved health he tried for a comeback at the brace trials,  using top rated sires, but the "all red pedigrees" - all field champions  in the pedigree were a complete failure. Regarding this "red pedigree"  fad of the 50s and 60s, Reese said: "For a long time I bred for all red  pedigree. Nothing hurt me as much as that idea." Frank said it took more  than a title for him to use a sire. A title meant very little to Frank,  thus he never printed titles in pedigrees. Frank didn't have any  aspirations to own a field champion, he just bred hounds for his own  pleasure, for private hunts, and an occasional field trial to test their  merits against other hounds. In fact, he said that he really didn't  want to own a field champion because of his health and he could not take  the weather and long hours. Also, that it was too risky to run a field  champion among deer and along highways as he had always done. Another  time he said: "My bitches have been used on at least 50 field champions.  Many went the hard way — by rail. My worst time though was when I used  10 or 12 bitches on top rated Walkie-Talkie advertised studs. I never  got one good one from this bad experience." Frank Reese was human and he  made mistakes. However, he learned from each failure and he didn't do  it over again. During a phone conversation he was asked what he would do  differently if he had it to do over again. He responded: "Oh, a lot!  Law me, an awful lot. I've made a lot of mistakes, and I couldn't do a  whole lot of things because of my health. I wouldn't say that I've  learned what to do though, you'd better say that I've learned what not  to do. Stay away from outcrosses. They are dangerous. You've got to stay  in the same family (once you've found the family that suits you)."

In  summary, Frank Reese was a "pioneer" producer of rabbit hunting  Beagles. He started long before the brace hound movement slowed their  Beagles down. Since he rarely advertised, few outside of the Carolinas  knew about him until Gay Baker came along. Then, when he advertised  Baker the word began to spread.

Gay hounds are  generally known to be lean, eager hunters, with absolutely no quit in  them. They are only reflecting the courage and stamina of their breeder,  Frank Reese. He is a man who didn't let years of illness stop him.  Instead, with the help of modern medicine, a lot of faith, and sheer  dogged perseverance, he threw off a disabling disease and went on to  live life to the very fullest. In so doing, he produced scores of fine  rabbit hunting Beagles that a lot of people have enjoyed for countless  hours. These hounds consisted of a "outside" blood that was carefully  "blended" in with the Gay blood. The first was the Bedlam "formal pack"  blood. The second was the "brace" blood through Deal's Betty. And the  third was the Dingus MacRae blood through Fd. Ch. Cane Country Jennie.  Make no mistake about it though, these are still Gay hounds and the  running ability of the Gay hounds is still predominant.

Frank kept the Gay "family" intact but he used mild outcrosses very  judiciously to keep from close inbreeding. Gay Beagles have been  developed over decades by careful breeding. Frank Reese did more than  his share for the Beagle and the sport of hunting. Frank Reese passed  away in 1995, at the age of 89, but he will always be remembered. 

Frank Reese the originator of the "Gay Hound" bloodline of our beagles puppies

Frank Reese the originator of the "Gay Hound" bloodline of our beagles puppies

Article from "Better Reading"

 


Gay Baker 1973 - 1981



This article is from "Better Reading":



In  our July 1984 issue we featured Gay Baker on our cover and the  following article about him and the Gay hounds. It was written by the  originator of this bloodline, Mr. Frank B. Reese of Taylorsville, North  Carolina. While much has been written about Mr. Reese and some of the  many great hounds he has bred, it hasn't but scratched the surface of  the vast amount of " hound knowledge" that reaches deep within the sole  of this great houndsman.



In his early years with  hounds, Mr. Reese also ran foxhounds, judged, and wrote for the better  foxhound publications. His articles on beagles have also appeared in  beagle publications including Better Beagling. While he no longer does  much writing or breeding, Mr. Reese still loves nothing more than the  sound of a pack of good hounds in full pursuit of their quarry, be it  fox or rabbit. What prompted us to reprint this article was a letter we  received a few weeks ago from a new beagler asking who originated the  Gay hounds. It surprised me at first as I thought "everybody must know  that". As I thought about however, I realized that someone new to the  sport, might very well not know.



Over the last few  years a number of Gay hounds have been offered at stud by a number of  different owners. The names of numerous others appear in pedigrees of  many top hounds of today in all areas of the country. One thing Mr.  Reese has always insisted on in his hounds is excellent conformation as  well as excellent running qualities. The photo of Gay Baker and those of  his sons and grandsons will testify to that fact.












Article Reprint July 1984



Better Beagling



By Frank Reese



Our  first beagle came to us registered Gay Belle. In order to use any name  we continued to use the word "Gay". Belle's family carried the  Amawalk-Burrfied lines. Next came Gay Rose (Dumbarton Dix x Dry Creek  Primrose). From this cross came Shaws Clipper and Rose O Dix (Futurity).  Belle and Rose would leave for the hills with young Walker Foxhounds  and run rabbits for three days before returning home. Both were fast and  dead game, but would hold a check and walk if necessary. They never  gave false bark and never ran one step backtrack. Starting with these  two, for more than half a century, our bitches have gone out to what we  thought were the best sires, with some of our better early crosses on  Young's Ringer, Rolcap Smokey, Contentnea Jack and Charmac Gay Boy. The  show blood has been a great help in type, intelligence, line control and  positive nose. It has been a struggle to keep some of the good traits  of this foundation blood.



Schooled the hard way by  training for leading kennels during the Dual Champion Age and running  the Old Tar Heel with its first licensed trial running a record class of  98 13" bitches, we gained an early demand for excellence. (Those 98  bitches, by-the-way, came with handlers from Maine to Texas.) Three  times our breeding program was completely stopped due to ill health, but  each time we kept our bitch line which now runs eight to ten  generations without a break. Crossing back on our lines we produced Gay  Slide, that we consider the greatest running hound ever hunted here.  Bred to Patterson's Little King, she produced seven good ones that would  not run deer. All the locals used the King X Slide males.



Gay  Charm produced well on Dumpy and High Rock Ranger, and Gay Fury, bred  to FC William's Pointline Buddy, produced 15 good ones, including Gay  Baker. Baker was a tremendous hound in a large pack and no hound could beat him as a jump dog. He ran up front and you could pick him up any  time in a hard fast run. Few males and no bitch ever finished a race  with him if the running ran all day or all night. Hunters came from far  and near to pit packs with him. We never ran him at trials as the modern  brace was upon us and we had not yet entered the pack trials. However,  he was braced with a small pack winner and the results set our future  course.



With better health we tried for a comeback  at the brace trials, using top rated sires, but the "all red pedigrees"  were a complete failure for us. Gay Cindy had failed on a couple of  crosses for us and more or less in disgust we bred her to Gay Baker,  saying they would be no good anyway. From this cross came Gay Flag and  Gay Flash and others of note. Cindy went on to produce eight litters by  Baker and when these hounds hit the pack trials (SPO), they put Baker on  the map. Cindy is due her part with this cross. Braced with her sire,  FC Wilson's Timmy II, she had line control and always turned right at  the turns and checks. In a trio, Cindy, Black, and Charm made the best  trio ever run at this kennel. However, Cindy was not overpowering like  Nell, Fury and Slide.



By 1950 we had had enough of  the problems of a public stud, but by the time Baker was born, more  than twenty years later, we became inspired by efforts being made to  reclaim the AKC beagle as a hunting dog. It was a tough decision to  offer a hound with no trial record after so many years of breeding only  to field and bench champions. With bitches coming a thousand miles from  both North and South, Baker exploded the theory that a stud could stand  in the wrong area. Most of the locals were using him, but one man drove  300 miles, ran all night and bred a bitch and when we arrived home from  church the following Sunday, he was back, waiting with three bitches. At  one point Baker had eight bitches waiting.



After  the great rush on Baker came, in order to get some relief from public  pressure we leased Baker to Don Riley (Country Road Beagles) in  Virginia, for a year. Gay Baker hounds have gone out to complete  favorably from Canada to the Deep South, in large pack and small pack  option; on hare, cottontail, and swampers". Many hounds of the future  will carry Baker in their pedigree. Many of these hounds compare  favorably with the best of the Dual Champion age. This kennel has never  quoted anyone in an advertisement on our hounds, but since Mr. Howard  Stamey is such a booster of Gay Baker, having hunted him in many all day  hunts, mostly in eight couple pack, I will make an exception. Mr.  Stamey has been running hounds for more than half a century. His Dream  Girl won the Upper Hudson (LPH) 13" bitch class with 57 starters. She is  by Gay Baker and this is what Mr. Stamey says, "Gay Baker was the  greatest hound I ever had the pleasure of hunting." 



Mr. Reese passed away in 1995 but will always be remembered.