Willet Randall was born in 1875. The founder and originator of the Patch strain of beagles lived his entire life in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Much has been written about Willet and his life. His book, Wilderness Patchwork, detailed much of his life story. Willet also was a frequent contributor to Hounds and Hunting magazine for many, many years. Its subscribers would look forward to Willet’s letters each month. Willet had a natural gift for writing and his stories were informative and entertaining. Willet sold hounds throughout the country. He would put out catalogs with hounds available and would ship hounds to all corners of the country. The demand was great. Beaglers from all across the nation would make the pilgrimage to North Creek to visit the renowned Patch Kennel.
The Patch line originated from quality imported stock. Among those early hounds, was a hound named Forest Patch, later named with AKC as Fd. Ch. Patch. Willet and others bred freely to this hound and he left his mark indelibly. Many excellent hounds descended from him. Willet also registered his kennel name “Patch” at the same time. Willet had definite standards as to what a hound should be and he stuck faithfully to those standards. He never worried about the fad of the day or the flavor of the month. He stuck to his ideal of what a hound should be. He put out a brochure that best describes the Patch hounds in his own words. (Click here)
Willet ran hounds until he was in his 90’s. He said that it kept him young. He constantly evaluated the hounds and the youngsters and had a deep understanding of their individual traits. He once said “you don’t just put two patch hounds together and keep coming up with good hounds.” Although he had no formal training in genetics, he was a master at refining his hounds. He outcrossed to many lines, such as hounds from Doc Zimmer, Dad Powell and Dr. James MacElroy as well as the Namrog hounds of Bill Gorman and others to further refine and enhance his strain. He knew his hounds inside and out and the fact that they continue on and remain with us, is a testament to his skill.
Willet passed away in 1970, but the line did not die with him. He wanted it to continue and it has. MORE...