When Norrbotten Beagle Club was formed in 1986, cooperation with Finland already had started. Enthusiasts within the breed as Ronny Torikka, Ove Olsson and Håkan Gunnarfelt had in a early stage provided themself with beagles of mainly Finnish origin. Contacts east grown primarily through Jyrki Vohlonen(Major at border police in Ylitorneå) , who had been in Sweden and done great impression in field trial with his dog Priha. Jyrki had dogs as a hobby for over 40 years and was previously breeding counsel for Pointer. His interest in beagle took off in the late 70’s when he lived in North Karelia. In that area there were several talented beagles. Good reputation as breeders had Eero Keinonen in Polvijärvi with his Eekoon kennel. Results of rearing can still be seen in the Finnish beagles studbooks. Keinonens fine champion Eekoon Miska, other talented dogs Heikkiläss Vili, Priha who started perform at 4 months age and became finnish double champion at age 3. Prihas success on the Swedish side led to a fruitful cooperation across borders. It started with Jyrki recieving a challenging letter from Bengt Östling in Bygdeå, Västerbotten, with the question if he dared to come with his famous ”Star” and start at field trial. Competition desire awakened by Jyrki, who then participated in a field trial in Västerbotten, Priha came, saw and conquered. After Prihas display there were many who gained beagles from these bloodlines, often with help from Jyrki.
In picture Int UCH, S and SFDCH Priha, owner Jyrki Vohlonen. The dog is found in almost all Norrbotten beagles pedigree. Foto; Jyrki Vohlonen.
Ronny Torikka, who bought a puppy in 1984 from Sointu Kuusela, Tornio after Priha and SFJCH Kipi, the puppy was SJCH Teny, who in turn became a good foundation in Ronny’s own breeding, Rytas kennel. Ronnys interest for beagle grew after he participated in hunt with a Finnish beagle. He bought his first beagle from Finish Rovaniemi, which became a very good dog. Next beagle he bought from Southern Sweden, it was then I discovered the cultural differences between north and south, says Ronny. Although we used the same terminology we meant different things. When we talked about champions meant southern breeder exhibition and I real hunting dogs. The high standard of the Norrbottensbeagles is found in the east within the collaboration with Finland in a early stage. Beagle came to Finland in 1957 and became soon one of the most popular in the group of hunting dogs. Breeders who had great significance for the Finnish beagles development is Eero Keinonen but also Jukka Meriläinen from Kokkola, Astalan Kennel. The high standard of hunting is attributed to the strict selection within breeding. Finland has same rules (judging) for both Finnish Hound and Beagle in field trial. The same year that Norrbotten Beagle Club was formed in 1986, the border to Finland was closed because of rabies. Overnight disappeared possibility puppy imports. Gone was the ability to quickly and easily go over and pairing their bitches. It looked like organized international matches no longer were possible. Norrbotten beagle club found fortunately a usefull solution, they and the the Finnish Kennel Club started the so-called Border River Fight , in this also Västerbotten beagle club participated. The historical contest were held 23 to 24 September 1989, the Finnish beagles tested in Karungi on the Finnish side of the Torne River and the Swedish in similar terrain in Kukkola on the Swedish side. Border River Fight sentenced after Finnish rules which made Finnish judge rules on both sides of the river, this also took Finland to win the first contest. Sune Karlander who has been one of the main enthusiasts for Border River fight saw his own Finnish imports Lili in second place. Lili who also made fine hunting offspring.
Here´s a series pictures of some previous Norrbotten dogs, click on an image to watch the slideshow..[nggallery id=8]
Norrbottens beagle clubs intention has always been to serve as an good alternative to the domestic hounds, and focus on hunting for hare. We believe that the breed is generally too fast to be released on the deer. We see now an exchange of beagles back to Finland, thanks to the red wire that goes through the club in terms of accurate and selective breeding.
How is it that in a region with so harsh climatic conditions more hunters choose beagle Today? It is not by chance.
Thanks to Sune Karlander and Hans Eliasson for the flashback …