|Westridge Houndmaster Society|
Notable Usage of War Hounds in History
Arathorian Empire Edit
Hounds have been used during times of war as early as the Arathorian Empire. During the Troll Wars, hounds were used to locate roving Troll war parties. Records even indicated that at some of the more distant outposts, hounds were chained to the walls to warn of an impending attack. The Arathorian Legion often clad their hounds in coats of mail armor and spiked collars, sending columns of these War Hounds in first to break the enemy ranks, shortly followed by their spear-bearing handlers, and then the Arathorian Calvary.
Scarlet Crusade Edit
Many Arathorian hounds found their way to Lordaeron as lands were claimed in the name of the Empire. As Lordaeron fell to the Scourge, the Scarlet Crusade was formed. Houndmasters, such as Loksey and Braun, trained these hounds to sniff out the smell of rot the undead carried. Unfortunately, for any non-Scarlet living person, Tirisfal Glades and the area now known as “The Plaguelands” permeated with the smell of death, which led to many “false-positives” when determining if a stranger was plagued or not.
Hunting was/is a big part of Gilnean society. From the local peasant hunter getting food for his family all the way up to the Lords and Ladies sport hunting foxes and birds. Much like Lordaeronian hounds, the hounds from Gilneas have direct lineage with those of Arathor. Furthermore, after the Cataclysm, Gilnean hounds were used not only in tracking Forsaken invaders, much like the Scarlet Crusade did (with better success), but they were also used in tracking down feral worgen. Some of those worgen were captured via traps and rehabilitated.
Originally from Arathor, the mastiffs in Stormwind have interbred occasionally with local wolves. Several generations of breeding with wolves and selective breeding have led to a variety of hounds not often seen in other parts of the world. Though some mastiff purebreds still do exist.
Hounds in Stormwind have been used for a multitude of purposes, be it hunting, herding, companionship, protection, and cargo inspection.
The Westridge Houndmaster Society is responsible for the breeding and training of many of the hounds used by the military, mercenary, and civilian organizations throughout the Duchy of Westridge. The Hound Masters of the Society also train the Hound Handler applicants as well as pair them with a hound that meets the needs of their particular organization.
Available Breeds Edit
Below are the primary breeds the Houndmaster Society breeds and trains. This list is not comprehensive.
Arathor/Gilnean Mastiff Edit
The origins of the Arathoran Warhound are unknown, but is theorized to have been a stocky wolf of the hilly Arathi Highland region that was friended and domesticated by tribal humans. The Warhound we know has a square-ish head and short muzzle, it is barrel-chested, with muscular short legs, short hair, and thick stretchy skin. These were desirable traits the Warhound was bred to exhibit to aid in its role as a protective, war-time companion.
The Gilnean Mastiff is a direct descendant of the Arathoran Warhound, keeping many of the same traits. Its size has slightly diminished from its progenitor due to lack of large open plains and the need to run through woodland brush for hunting small game and tracking larger prey. The Mastiff is known to come in varying shades of Black, Grey, and Brown.
Elwynn Shepherd Edit
The Elwynn Shepherd originates from the interbreeding of Arathoran Warhounds and wolves local to the southern colony that eventually became the Kingdom of Stormwind. The Shepherd is a medium to large-sized dog and longer than it is tall. It has a domed forehead, a large square-cut muzzle with strong jaws, and a black nose. The eyes are medium-sized and brown with a lively, intelligent and self-assured look. The ears are large and stand erect, open at the front and parallel, but they often are pulled back during movement. An Elwynn Shepherd has a long neck, which is raised when excited and lowered when moving at a fast pace. The tail is bushy and reaches to the hock. Most commonly, Shepherds are brown/black or red/black, often with the black running down the back and a black “mask”. Rarer is the pure-black variant.
Elwynn Shepherds are working dogs developed originally for herding sheep. However, because of their strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience, Shepherds have become the preferred breed for many types of work, including search and rescue, police, and military roles.
Duskwood Wolfhound Edit
The tallest of the local hound breeds, the Duskwood Wolf Hound was bred precisely for its namesake, hunting wolves. The Wolf Hound’s desirability in the Duskwood region only further increased upon the emergence of feral Worgens. The Wolf Hound bears a commanding appearance, and is remarkable in combining power and swiftness with keen sight. It is rough-coated, very muscular though equally graceful, its head and neck are carried high and its tail has an upward sweep to it. The Wolf Hound generally exhibits colors of varying greys and tans.
Redridge Retriever Edit
The Redridge Retriever is a large-sized breed of dog bred primarily to retrieve fowl game such as ducks, pheasants, and turkey during hunting parties and were so named for their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged. They have an instinctive love of water and are easy to train to basic and advanced obedience standards. They’re a long-coated breed, with a dense inner coat that provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors, and an outer coat that lies flat against their bodies and repels water.
Retrievers are well suited to residency in suburban and country environments. Although they need substantial outdoor exercise, they should be housed in a fenced area because of their instinctual tendency to roam. They shed copiously, particularly at the change of seasons, and require fairly regular grooming. Color variants typically include black, grey, tan, and pure white. Most Retrievers’ underbelly will have a lighter shade than the rest of its body.
They can be trained to be a hunting dog, a detection dog, and a search and rescue participant. The breed's friendly, gentle temperament however, means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog. The breed is fond of play but also highly trainable.
Westfall Border Collie Edit
The Border Collie is a working and herding dog breed and developed in the gently rolling plains of Westfall for herding livestock, especially sheep. It was specifically bred for intelligence and obedience. Considered highly intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic, and athletic, Collies continue to be employed in their traditional work of herding livestock throughout the kingdom.
The Collie is a medium-sized dog with a moderate amount of coat, which is typically thick and sheds often. Black and grey are the most commonly seen color pattern, the breed appears in just about any color and pattern known to occur in dogs. Some of these include brown, brown/grey, and red. While varying shades within the coat is the most common, solid single-color coats may also occur.
Service Roles Edit
Over the centuries, hounds have been utilized for various roles, whether it be a specific role or for general purpose. The following is a list of common roles filled by the hounds and a brief description.
Sentry Hounds work on a short leash and are taught to give warning by growling, alerting, or barking. Their function is to detect and attack, on command, all people except the handler and others who have helped care for them. They are especially useful at night when attack from cover or the rear is likely. They are trained to accompany a guard on patrol and give warning of the approach or presence of strangers within the protected area. Sentry Hounds are most often found at vital holdings or any place where security against intruders must be maintained.
Outwardly, there is little distinction between Sentry and Scout/Patrol. However, there is a big difference in the way the dogs react to their environment and in the ways they are trained. Scout/Patrol Hounds are trained to work in silence to aid in the detection of snipers, ambushes, and other enemy forces within a particular area. They are trained not to be disturbed by the approach of people and to discriminate between a threat and acceptance of others by the handler. Scout/Patrol Hounds are also trained to work both on and off leash. They can enter an empty building to search for hidden intruders or cover an area to find a lost or concealed object. They are trained to attack at the command of their handler with the aggressiveness of a Sentry Hound, but unlike the Sentry Hound, can be called off the attack at any time.
The most desired quality in these hounds is loyalty, since the hounds must be motivated by the desire to work with two handlers. They are trained to travel silently and take advantage of natural cover when moving between the two handlers.
Search and Rescue Edit
Search and Rescue Hounds are trained to search for and report the location of missing persons and/or casualties in obscure places that would otherwise be difficult for search parties to locate. In cases of severe injuries, minutes saved in locating such casualties often mean the difference between life and death.
- Caiterina Stonewall (Mastiffs)
Additional Information Edit