This month’s featured hound, Keswick Echo, resides in the land of salt marshes and moss-covered ancient live oaks of the Lowcountry Hunt’s territory along the coastline of South Carolina. This handsome all-American, hard-working hound is one of the favorites of the club, which often hunt from picturesque historic plantations in the area.
We caught up with Lowcountry Huntsman Tony Gammell and Professional Whipper-in Elizabeth Howard to find out more about this special hound.
What can you tell me about Keswick Echo? How old is he? What are his bloodlines like?
Lowcountry’s Keswick Echo is a 2014 entry, but in all aspects an incredibly old soul. His personality and demeanor exude a sense of self-awareness and otherworldly prowess. Like his sister, Lowcountry’s Keswick Empress, his cunning and drive to persevere against the posed challenges and is a testament to their breeding.
Echo is by Keswick Keplar 2007 out of Keswick Wendy 2009, two hard-driving hounds with a keen nose for red foxes. Both were American hounds with deep-rooted Virginia bloodlines; on the bitch’s side going back to Brandywine and on the stallion’s side Bywaters blood.
What is his personality like?
We call him the “Narf Narf” or “Eggo”; he is The Dude (for those who have seen the Big Lebowski, more about that later in the article). Each hound in our kennels has a nickname and his is derived from his recognizable “narf!” “narf!” as his music out hunting is the herald to the rest of the pack, huntsman, staff, and field that game is afoot, and one better be ready! “Eggo” is a derivation of Echo as he is easy to work with and his specialty is a good morning with a “narf” “narf” to greet you. Everything you would want in a hard-working hunter and yet the personability of a kind American foxhound.
What makes him a suitable hound for your hunt's territory?
He is the consummate hunter! He is from a line of American hounds that defines adaptability to the country for which they were bred. His determination and spirit have excelled him through the Piedmont of Virginia, the manicured vistas of Mrs. Hannum’s Pennsylvania (under the guidance of Barry Magner), and not the least of challenges the black water swamps and moss-covered alleys of South Carolina’s ACE Basin. In fact, having made his sojourn from the mid-Atlantic to the Georgia/Carolina boarder, he was hesitant of his new task…hunt what you have been told before was “off-limits” (i.e. grey fox and coyote). The first time he was hollered on the “new” legitimate quarry he sauntered up to the line and lifted his leg! But in the end the bloodlines and drive will prevail as well as that otherworldly prowess which has concluded many a hunt this year with success. He is suitable for hunt country because of his breeding…in essence an American foxhound.
What are some of his best qualities in general?
To sum it up, he knows his job and he knows how to complete it. He is gregarious to humans and other hounds, respects authority, and commands respect when a task is posed to him, he will execute it to fruition. All the BEST qualities in a hound!
Has he ever sired a litter of puppies?
Yes, two. The first of which was when he was on loan to Barry Magner (at the time huntsman for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds) out of Keswick Tarka, this litter’s entry resides at Cheshire, Rolling Rock, and Keswick (“T” Litter). The second is about to whelp at Lowcountry out of Waterman’s Koala and should exude the best qualities of the stallion (aforementioned) and bitch which also is an American hound with strong Brandywine and Bywaters blood.
Has he ever showed or participated in performance trials?
Like his aunt (Keswick Kestral 2007) and uncle (Keswick Kiely 2007), Echo has been Champion American Foxhound at several shows. The focus of our breeding is suitability and stability to hunting. Breeding along those lines will organically lend itself to a hound that can secondarily participate in showing/performance trials. The proof is in the pudding!
Do you have any fun stories you'd like to share about him?
There are so many but let us return to the “Big Lebowski” reference. In 2019, Lowcountry Hunt was propositioned by the MFHA to partake in Charleston’s South Eastern Wildlife Exposition. Echo was our hound of choice to showcase the biddability and enthusiasm of an American Foxhound. From early morning amongst the throngs of deer, duck, and wildlife connoisseur, with tail wags and a smiling face, he met every inquisitor with grace. Echo was the perfect poster for an American Foxhound, but the day was not over. With a brief reprieve, Echo participated in a black-tie art gala cocktail. Brushing elbows and snouts with those to see and be seen he conducted himself amongst the passing trays of hor d’oeuvres and martinis as a perfect gentleman. As the evening concluded it was time to shake off the kit and enjoy a Charleston evening. This amazing hound with the breeding and bloodlines of the ultimate American Foxhound also exuded that perfect Je Ne Sais Quoi for a huntsman’s service “dog” and sauntered into a bar, contentedly laid down under the table and enjoyed his truffle cheese fries with a White Russian in complete bliss.