Numbering Hounds for Performance Trials

The tried and true method is dyeing the hound on both sides with the assigned number.


Servings: approximately 10 hounds

  • 3 bottles Dawn dish washing liquid
  • 2 pounds BW2 extra-strength powdered bleach*
  • 5 pint bottles of 40 volume peroxide® 5 bottles Clairol Black Rage or Black Velvet dye
  • Small paint brush
  • 2 small containers to mix dye
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Set of 5″ or 6” number stencils

*Available at any beauty supply store


First, wash both sides of the hound from behind the shoulders to the front of the hip with Dawn dish washing soap, to remove grease. Dawn works well, but any dish washing liquid will do.

After the hound has dried, you can bleach the hound with BW2 extra strength powdered bleach. Pour the powdered bleach in a container, and mix it with 40 volume peroxide to the texture of a wet paste. Make sure you wear rubber gloves, because the bleach will burn your skin, and have good ventilation.

After applying the bleach to the hound, scrub the bleach down into the hound’s hair to make sure you get the lower levels of the hair. This process takes about 30 minutes to work, so walk hound around until the bleach past dried enough to form a crust on the hair. Then, immediately rinse it off thoroughly (or you will burn the skin).

Once the hound is rinsed you should have good results; if not, then redo the bleach process again, once the hair has dried. The key thing is to make sure the hound is finally rinsed well to keep the bleach from burning the skin.

Hint: do this bleaching process a few days before dyeing in case the hound gets a little sore from the bleach, as well as insuring the hair is dry before dyeing. However, the bleaching and dyeing can still easily be done in a day-bleach in the morning and come back in the afternoon, after hound is dry, to dye.

Next, to dye the bleached, dry hair, mix the hair dye and developer in a container according to directions on the dye bottle, and let it stand for five minutes. Then apply the stencil to the hound, and paint over it with the brush. You can touch the number up once you get the outline done with the stencil. It is very important not to smudge the number once it gets onto the hair

Once painted, keep the hound walking at least twenty minutes te prevent hound from rolling and smudging the wet number. The dye should work within that time, and the number should be very black.

Then when the dye is set, wash the hound. Once the water runs clear, you are done.

This numbering process can be done several days or even weeks before the Trial, which is a good idea, so that the hound will have time to settle again. It’s most efficient to have one person holding and walking the hound during each step and another washing, bleaching, rinsing or dyeing.

Need help?

Raymond Morris
Former Honorary Field Secretary, Belle Meade Hunt