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The Canine in Conversation
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image of a computerized game showing a large hound head and a hare


running with both hounds and hares. Try to have it both ways, to straddle the fence, refuse to pick sides.

Christine Ammer says that this comes from the English childhood game of Hare and Hounds in which two teams compete.reference 1 “An outdoor game in which certain players, the hares, start off in advance on a long run, scattering small pieces of paper, called the scent, with other players, the hounds, following the trail so marked in an effort to catch the hares before they reach a designated point.”reference 2 However, the name is likewise used for a somewhat similar “classic 19th century French board game, also known as The Military Game.”reference 3

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illustration of some uniformed boys running through a field and hopping a fence spacer
figure 2

Frankly, I haven't heard this expression very often lately, have you? Well, if you are a dedicated runner, you may well have. “Hashes” are named for the Hash House Harriers who describe themselves as “'the lunatic fringe of running,'...'the drinking club with a running problem,' [and]...a worldwide group with some 350 chapters in the United States.”reference 4 Exactly how hashes are versions of Hounds and Hares is not so clear to me.

1. Ammer, Christine. 1989. It's Raining Cats and Dogs--and Other Beastly Expressions. 1st ed. New York: Paragon House.

2. Hash House Harrier Press Kit. 2001. Accessed Apr 28 2002 from http:// presskit/ definitions.html.

3. Kirkland, Bob. 2002. Hare and Hounds. StudyWorks! Online. Accessed Apr 18 2002 from http:// www.studyworksonline. com/cda/content/ applet/0,1033,NAV3-15_SAP45,00.html.

4. Hash House Harrier Press Kit.

About the illustrations: Figure 1 is collaged from Bob Kirkland's ubiquitous java applet used for playing a computerized version of the game.  

Figure 2 is an illustration of Hare and Hounds from the May 23, 1874 Harper's Weekly. This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

see also: running dog; run wth the big dogs; harry Last updated: July 28, 2008
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