Q & A: The Hound Group


  • May 29, 2019

From the May 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe

We asked the following questions to people in the Hound community. Here are their responses. 

  1. Where do you live? How many years in Dogs? What do you do “outside” of dogs? Any other hobbies or interests?
  2. A brief overview of your breed (purpose, temperament, popularity, not necessarily by individual dog but in general)
  3. Most of the Hound breeds were developed for particular (and almost always outdoors) purposes but now find themselves leading primarily indoor, air-conditioned lives. How do you think Hounds have adapted to this change? Your breed in particular?
  4. Current overall quality of the breed?
  5. Changes you’ve seen during your time involved in the breed.
  6. Any Shift in the balance of popularity among breeds, and why?
  7. Any particular challenges you, as a breeder/owner, face in our current economic/social climate?
  8. Any trends you see that you hope to continue? Any that you’d like to see stopped?
  9. Biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges?
  10. There are numerous Hounds that are considered “glamour” breeds, and some that are more simple in make and shape. Does this affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition?
  11. Anything else you’d like to share?
  12. And for a bit of humor, what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a dog show?

 

Zoe Bolin

I live in Southern California, north of Los Angeles. I have had dogs all my life but got my first show dog in 2006. I am recently retired from LAPD where I worked as a 911 operator. My background is in horses. I showed Western horses as a junior, Hunters/Jumpers as an amateur, and worked at various race tracks and training facilities for TB race horses as an adult.

My breed is Black and Tan Coonhounds. I am currently the President of the National Parent Club and have served previously as a Board Member. Black and Tans were bred to track and trail raccoon and large game. They are the largest of the Coonhound breeds and hunt at a slower pace than some of the smaller, racier breeds. They are to be bold, courageous hunters who can be aloof with strangers, but never shy or vicious. The breed has recently become more popular as a family pet in some areas of the country but is still very low on the AKC popularity scale.

Hounds, in general, have adapted well to the indoor life as long as they are provided a way of releasing pent up energy. Hounds are bred to work (hunt) and therefore must have a “job”. The Black and Tan is no exception. They are a family oriented breed but, like a lot of other breeds, will get themselves into trouble if not provided an outlet for their energy.

The physical quality of the breed at the “top” is very good right now. The dogs who are being shown are very good examples of 
the breed.

The quantity is not what it has been in the past. In the 12 years that I have been in the breed the size of the entry at our National Specialty shows is less than half of what it was previously. The number of “specials” entered is approximately the same but the numbers in the classes have dramatically decreased, indicating that we are breeding less and less.

The decrease in popularity of the Black and Tan as a show dog, in my opinion, has declined since the other Coonhound breeds have been recognized by the AKC. If you are attracted to this type of hound breed you now have six coonhound breeds to choose from to show in AKC events. In a recent event in Louisville there were 79 coonhounds entered (on Sat) and only seven were Black and Tans. All the Coonhound breeds were represented and only Plotts had a smaller entry than the Black and Tans. My first Coonhound was a Bluetick. I got a Black and Tan so that I could show my dog in AKC events.

Like all dog breeders, our biggest challenge comes from the Animal Rights and the rescue community who vilify us as being the root of the overpopulation problem. The general public, who are working from the “facts” that are continuously force fed to them by the media, are not informed enough to realize that they are being lied to.

The trend that is the most disconcerting to me in Black and Tans is the amount of poor temperaments that we are seeing in the show ring. Our Club motto is “Beauty, Strength, and Courage” but the courage portion is lacking in some of our dogs. Our breeders have worked very hard to improve the structure and health of our dogs. Now we need to concentrate on the temperament aspect.

The biggest pitfall for new judges: please don’t think that it is a “longest ears” contest! If the ear comes well past the nose it is within the standard. The “running gear” of a hunting dog and the overall balance is much more important.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? I think this absolutely depends on the judge. Everyone has their own personal preferences but most judges are able to see the attributes of an outstanding dog who is not necessarily a breed that they prefer. A great dog is a great dog.

Anything else I’d like to share: a quote from a fellow Coonhound breed (Redbone) competitor…“they’re not red Black and Tans”.

I saw a woman flying around the ring showing a very beautiful dog when the elastic on her slip broke and it began to slide out from under her skirt. I was horrified that she was going to trip and kill herself. She kept running and, when it got down to her ankles, she very gracefully stepped out of it and left it lying in the 
ring. Amazing!

 

JULIE & Scott BUSS

We live in Denver, Iowa. We’ve had Ridgebacks (hilltoprhodesianridgebacks.com) for almost ten years and Weimaraners before them for 12 years.

I (Julie) run “Runway Scrubs” a mobile scrub truck that travels the state of Iowa selling uniforms and shoes to nurses and staff at nursing homes, assisted livings and hospitals. My bosses co-own three dogs with us and have an immense love for dogs. Scott manages our family farm and does custom farming.

Our favorite hobby is our dogs, of course, but we also like to cook. Scott is known for his cooking from soups to smoking and BBQ. We use a lot of our own produce from our garden. We also try to sneak away to fish each year.

Our breeds original purpose was hunting lions and large dangerous game. They also were protectors and guardians of the families. A very multi-purpose dog. They need to be tough, athletic and agile to run, corner and out-maneuver what ever they are pursuing. As watch dog and guardian duties they are intuitive, caring and loving. A bonus is their beauty such a sleek, easy maintenance dog with relatively low health issues but not for everyone as they are smart and will try to out smart you. They are both a sight and scent hound which is often forgotten.

As far as popularity you do not see a lot of them but they are not rare either. In the hound group I believe they are overlooked. Judges seem to be drawn to flashy sight hounds and the popular Beagle often.

I feel Ridgebacks are as ready to go for a mountain hike or sit on the couch and watch a movie and eat popcorn. They really want to be with their people and will engage in whatever you are doing. They will get cabin fever if not allowed to burn off some of that prey drive somehow. They love games, they are thinkers, hide and seek or dog puzzles are great. Lure coursing, nose work, barn hunts, obedience and of course conformation are great ways to engage them. They also enjoy enjoy hiking, biking, horse-back riding, training partner for runners/athletes, herding critters on the farm, companion hunting and just hanging out. Their instinctual intuitiveness makes them great service and therapy dogs. They also can do search and rescue well as they have great stamina. Like I said an all around, multi-purpose dog. So I think they handle being on the softer side of their “purpose” just fine.

Honestly I believe the breed I am passionate about is in trouble. Now before you crucify me, let me explain, we are losing what our ideal is. I am not a flavor of the month breeder, I do not believe bigger is better. Ridgebacks are meant to run for long distances and over tough terrain and be agile and fast thinking. Yes they are not hunting lions but we should not lose our purpose, that is what made them a Ridgebacks after all. They still hunt, if too large they will tire sooner and not be as agile. They should not be so small that they are not tough/strong enough to handle a knock or two either. This breed is usually the last to let you know they are hurt, they are tough. Muscled without being bulky and heavy. Enough bone to hold it all together without being course or heavy. Slightly longer than tall, again this is a balance, no extremes. I liken it to a wrestler that can dance ballet. There are beautiful animals out there but so many need to revisit the standard.

Popularity in hounds for judging the flashy sight hounds always catch their eye. General public always recognizes the Beagles and the Basset who can resist those ears!

I think all breeders are fighting the doodle battle. In essence why buy purebred? I truly believe in purebred with a purpose. I test for everything I can to produce the healthiest pups I can. I breed to what will improve my stock and it may cost me, but that’s how you improve. Showing is more and more expensive especially campaigning a special. I keep on with the belief I am doing right by the breed and my owners, who are family and are worth more than anything to me. I see my success in their accomplishments. Pending AKC approval I am a Bronze level Breeder of Merit.

Negative first: bigger is not better, remember form and function, politics always a negative, still too many BYB.

Positive: I love seeing good bitches get recognition, more health awareness, breeders doing testing.

Judges are not always getting mentored by multiple people so they see multiply facets of the breed and not just one breeders take on the standard. They have a difficult job and its not just judging dogs. They have pressure to get assignments and as in all things these days money, promotion and power speaks volumes.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? I believe I addressed this earlier—flashier sight hounds seem to be more popular. Some judges just prefer some breeds, some have had bad experiences (or good too) that influence how they feel about some breeds, after all they are only human.

We had raised and shown a rare breed of beef cattle (Belgian Blues) for about 30 years prior to dedicating our time to Ridgebacks. Genetics and being able to pick apart your stock to breed the right traits back in is like putting a puzzle together. When we had cattle it was a small gene pool and you needed to be careful of pedigrees and ready to try something new or bring in something from the past to better your program. Cattle don’t breed as close as dogs do, livestock people will say if it works, its line breeding, if not, its inbreeding! Dogs are the same. We have been blessed with our base breed stock being healthy and successful. GCHB Wild West Courage NZuri RN RATN CGC ROM is Brood bitch for 2018 and MBIS BISS GCHP Courage Hilltop U Don’t Mess With Zohan Of Afrikka CGC ROM earned his BISS this year as a veteran in Florida. Both have offspring that have succeed in the show ring, performance and what means the most to us in their homes. I am always wanting and am willing to educate myself on pedigrees, health issues and training techniques. I never want to stop learning and I think each dog teaches me something. I love to take what I know and share it with my co-owners and we also teach our county 4-H dog project. We teach conformation, obedience and agility. It is great to see how the kids grow through each season and then through the years. I show my own class animals and specials until they become very competitive as I usually have more young ones needing my attention. We turn over the “Specials” to professionals. I enjoy the people this sport and raising dogs have brought into my life. So many have changed the course of where I am now. I would never have thought when we got Zohan that I would own such a treasure. Our dogs have brought so many great people into our lives and taught us about the others we have left behind. (A special thanks to Mark and Tabatha Bettis and Dick and Kathy Allbee) I look forward to many great adventures with our ever 
growing family.

 

Ana Paola Diniz

I used to live in São Paulo, but decided to move to Sorocaba, in the countryside of the state, where I have my kennel and my other animals. Here, I feel at home and more at ease, able to deal with my life and all of my different projects.

I started my kennel in 2006, but I’ve been working with dogs since I was little. I used to help my mom a lot, and she was the one who taught me how to respect animals. I am proud to say that my work ethic comes from her.

Besides my dogs, I created a nonprofit organization in honor of my parents; the Alcides e Rosaura Diniz Foundation that has as its mission to raise funds for immunotherapy research. So far, we have managed to help purchase a state of the art machine for the Santa Casa da Misericordia hospital in Minas Gerais to help diagnose Retinoblastoma, we’ve donated funds to MSK to support their CAR-T Cells research, donated funds for MSK’s Caring Canines program, and bought a genetic sequencing machine for MD Anderson to help with brain tumor research. The results of said research will be presented in May to the California Congress.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are typically very reserved dogs and very protective. They really are unlike any other breed out there. All of their characteristics make them the perfect dog for me, but they might not be suited for everyone, especially first time dog owners. They are very sensitive but also have a very strong personality. They try so hard to communicate with you that sometimes it seems like they can talk! They are also great for pet therapy.

The Rhodesian Ridgebacks are classified as a hunting breed, however, they have other characteristics that make it easy for them to adapt to a new modern lifestyle. You won’t find a lion on the streets of São Paulo, but the characteristics that made them an excellent hunting dog have also made it easy for them to adapt to their new reality. They love their owners and easily conquer a space in the heart of their families. They become a member of the family.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not well-suited for first time dog owners. They are incredibly intelligent; you can seem them working out how to solve problems, and they have an amazing dexterity with their paws. They love their owners and their family, but can be a bit wary of strangers. If they feel that their owner is apprehensive, their composure changes completely and they acquire this very protective stance. They are great with other animals, but because some still have that strong hunting drive, and because of their size, they might not be the best with tiny animals.

Changes I’ve noticed during my time involved with the breed: the breeder was responsible for how the Rhodesian Ridgebacks changed, adapting them to evolve with the world around them.

The Rhodesian Ridgbacks are not very well-known in Brazil, and people are just now getting to know them. In my opinion, popularizing a breed can be detrimental. It may sound weird, but once a breed becomes extremely popular, there starts to be problems with irresponsible breeders. Breeders who truly love and care for dogs will always do their best to keep their breed healthy and nurture its distinct characteristics and temperament; irresponsible breeders, however, can end up destroying all that work because they are only interested in mass producing dogs for profit. In order to protect our dogs and ensure their safety, one cannot breed simply for profit.

There needs to be more consistency when it comes to breeding. A respectful breeder is a protector of their breed. They work to ensure their dogs’ health, temperament, and more. If the breed starts to be sold without any regulation, with only profits as the main goal, the dogs will suffer.

The breeder is responsible for all of their puppies, even those who are with new forever families. The biggest challenge is to try to separate responsible and respectable breeders from those who do not care for the dogs they raise.

My biggest dream is to have something like the AKC in Brazil, with its rules and regulations. The AKC might not be perfect, but it is one of the best regulatory agencies there are; it is a responsible and well-respected institution. Right now, Brazil is trying to push back against breeders due to problems caused by people who are just interested in making a quick buck with no regards towards the well-being of the animals they raise. Though the initiative comes from a place of good intentions, it is causing problems to breeders who do love and champion for the well-being of not just their chosen breed, but for all types of animals. It is putting their work in danger, and that’s what I’m currently focused on. We need an honest and responsible agency here in Brazil to create proper oversight so we don’t end up suffering due to irresponsible breeders who are only after profit and do not love or respect their dogs.

My biggest dream is that all dogs and all animals are treated with love and respect. I want breeders to take responsibility for their work and become advocates for the animals they work with. We are their voices, and we should work for their well-being. Love should come first, always. It’s also very important for people to understand that dogs—or any animal, any pet, really—are a life-long responsibility, not a fashion statement or an object to purchase on a whim. Once you take responsibility for one, you should work hard so that that animal only knows love and care for the rest of their life. That is your responsibility as an owner, their life and happiness is in your hands, and you cannot let them down.

My dogs can be very funny. They communicate so well with humans and can do some wild things to get attention. They also love to steal food, and even work together to get what they want! For instance, Rachel sometimes would open the trashcan and Redford would go and steal the food inside so they could eat together. Katano learned how to open the freezer and would steal the food inside. They are so smart and so cute, though, that it is impossible to stay angry with them.

 

Betsy & Dennis Dollar

Betsy and I are both attorneys in Southern California. We have been breeding and showing Beagles under the Barrister kennel prefix for 20 years.

Beagles were developed as a hunting dog to work as a pack, side by side with hunters on foot. They must have a keen sense of smell, an independent determination, and the ability to follow their quarry to its death. To fulfill this purpose a Beagle should be social, confident, independent and always well-muscled and fit.

Beagles have adapted well to an indoor life due to their size and relatively short coat. Most importantly, due to their social nature, Beagles crave the social interaction found in everyday life as an indoor member of the family. Ironically, most behavior problems in Beagles develop when they are left outside without being a part of the family.

The overall quality of the breed is good, with a corps of breeders who truly desire to improve the health of the breed. Like any breed, there are cyclical health and conformation issues that crop up depending on the popular sire of the day. Fortunately, due to the popularity of the breed there is a sufficient gene pool that most health and conformation flaws can be avoided.

As a general matter, due in large part to the necessity of clubs to form four and five day clusters, we have seen an increase in the number of dogs—including class dogs—shown by handlers, and a corresponding decrease in the number of breeder-exhibitors at shows. This decrease in breeder-exhibitors has changed the nature of the fancy and has reduced the camaraderie we enjoyed when we first began in the breed.

Due to the increase regulation of dogs and breeders, combined with increased costs of breeding a litter, there is a widespread decline in the number of Beagle breeders in Southern California. It breaks my heart to have puppy inquiries from very responsible families but have no puppies available.

There has been an increase in the health testing in Beagles which I hope continues but it is not a panacea. Breeders need to go beyond genetic testing and spend time discussing the health concerns facing the breed. This discussion needs to be face-to-face, as social media is not a venue where such an open discussion can 
be conducted.

At many shows with declining entries, I look over the entries and feel as breeders we have failed to provide new judges with truly representative examples of the breed. New and novice judges need to have a firm concept of type and a fundamental understanding of structure. The best show dog without correct type and structure is a poor example of the breed. New judges need to be aware of the fact that many novice exhibitors will base their breeding decisions on a handful of ribbons from judges who have probably never bred a litter of Beagles. Conversely, as a breeder the biggest pitfall is showing a puppy because it is the best the breeder has to show, rather than a true exemplar of the breed. The judges and breeders need to work together if we hope to improve the type and structure of our merry little hounds.

 

Jean Durdin

I am a mother to four children and have six grandchildren. I am an automobile dealer and former real estate broker/investor. In 2016 I was the Regional Award Winner of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. I had never worked in the automobile business until 12 years ago when my husband became ill. I stepped in to run the business. My husband passed away three years ago. My Borzoi helped and supported me during my husband’s illness. It was so comforting to have their companionship and love. They knew when I needed them and were present for me. They have helped me make it through tough times. They offered comfort by laying their heads on me or leaning against me. They seem to see into my soul. They are very important to me.

I live in Houston, Texas. I have spent pretty much my whole life with dogs. My father was a breeder of Pointers used for hunting. I bred Labrador Retrievers for 30+ years and have been breeding Borzoi for 12 years. I work in the automobile business and love it! My hobbies and interests include my children, grandchildren, open water fishing and travel. I belong to several different wine and food societies and enjoy being active with those groups including travel.

A brief overview of my breed: quick, swift, agile, and tough enough to pursue or course game.

How I think Hounds have adapted to this change to primarily indoor, air-conditioned lives? Usually they are quiet and reserved. They can be stubborn, gentle and usually couch potatoes with very good house manners. They possess a natural respect for humans. Throughout history you find them alongside their owners. They are generally affectionate with people and naturally empathetic.

Overall quality of the breed: like any breed, it can have its ups and downs. The quality and health in the Borzoi breed in general are good and better than a lot of other breeds.

I have noticed that many are breeding for smaller Borzoi. However, I feel they need to be able to take down the wolf for which Borzoi were initially bred.

There is has been a slight increase in popularity in the group ring due to Borzoi doing well on the big stages. It has helped the breed at shows and we see more appreciation for this elegant breed.

I feel that the judging education system for Borzoi is too narrow in scope. We need to remember their purpose is to hunt wolves and protect families. In order to do this they must have correct confirmation.

I’d like to see the appreciation for the breed in the confirmation ring to continue. Finding dogs with proper form and function is important for the breed.

Pay attention to the proper shoulder and rear assembly thus good reach and drive. Their movement should be fluid with long strides and they should be able to get their rear up under themselves when running. They need this perform the jobs for which they were bred. There are dogs in the arena that do not have good movement which should be adhered to as a breed standard.

The biggest pitfall for new judges: using the AKC standard for proper confirmation but also being able to use that standard to judge if the dog has the proper function that its breed was intended to have.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? We have seen a rise in popularity in the confirmation rings. It has helped the breed to be looked at more as a functioning hound, than just a “glamorous” pet. I would like to see this 
trend continue.

Funniest thing at a dog show: one of my puppies was very spirited when she began to show at a young age. She was really sweet but wanted to stand on her hind legs to greet the judges like a big bear. She wanted eye to eye contact. She has outgrown her bear imitation but not her spirited ways.

 

Nancy Faville

My husband, Charlie Storke, and I live in Pleasanton, California. I have had a variety of purebred dogs throughout my life, starting with German Short-haired Pointers used by my father for hunting. We have had Ridgebacks for 22 years, now. I retired in 2015, looking forward to spending time with my newly born grandson and working, at a leisurely pace, on the National Specialties for 2017 and 2018. Those two Nationals became a full-time job. Now that they are over and I am starting to catch up with life, I will be looking to move our household to Nevada.

We bred our first litter in 2005. Averaging two litters a year, we have been fortunate finding puppy homes in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Our intention has always been to be involved breeders, keeping track of the dogs we have bred. We encourage and maintain communications about temperament, socialization and health with our RR family. We focus on breeding healthy dogs, fit physically and mentally, to serve the companion roles in their human families, with versatility. From a hobbyist perspective we breed for conformation, targeting the Ridgeback standard, referring often to its illustrated elaboration to insure correct understanding. We have been successful in this endeavor with two number one Ridgebacks, others in the top ten, a Best in Show and Best in National Specialty winner.

Ridgebacks have a complex origin. Developed in the Southern regions of Africa, they are a 19th century mash-up of a semi-domesticated, ridged, Hottentot African dog (most likely the ridged Africanis) with a variety of European breeds. The Ridgeback is closest genetically to the Great Dane, with influence from the Boerboel, Greyhound and Airedale Terrier, uses both sight and scent to hunt. Bred to be a trotter, like the Dalmatian, Ridgebacks exhibit great endurance over long distances. Often referred to as the “lion dog”, Ridgebacks were versatile hunting and wagon dogs, responsible for protecting their families from intruders and livestock from predatory species like the lion, as settlers converted vast amounts of African plain into farmland.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known to be fiercely loyal and intelligent. They exhibit great versatility in task, most often adapting to activities enjoyed by their owners. They can be aloof, strong-willed. Ridgebacks are protective of their owners and families; accepting of others when well-socialized.

How I think Hounds have adapted to this change to primarily indoor, air-conditioned lives? I don’t believe that the Hound breeds have changed as a result of controlled environments, but they have been purposefully bred for temperaments necessary in dense urban populations, where intense prey drive doesn’t work and aloofness may be mistaken as menacing.

There are many beautiful and correct representatives of the Ridgeback showing in conformation and participating in performance events. Breeders, in general, have worked diligently to point to the standard, eliminating course, oversized dogs from their lines. Masculine type—beautiful head with adequate back skull and a strong muzzle, strong level topline, well-muscled loin, effortless power, is sometimes hard to find. Type in bitches is currently superior. Balance in reach and drive always seems to require attention.

The prevalence and quality of liver-nosed Ridgebacks is much improved. While there were only occasional liver-nosed dogs exhibited in the past, their numbers, especially in the conformation ring, have increased and type now mirrors the black-nosed dogs. As a result, we see more judges accepting of them, rather than shying away from placing them.

Ridgebacks are usually one of the largest entries in dog shows, but their ranking in popularity hovers in the 40s year after year. This is fine with most Ridgeback breeders and owners. A Ridgeback is not the right fit for every person or family.

Like all purebred dogs, Ridgebacks are subject to animal rights activism that shames the responsible breeder for breeding domesticated dogs that are wanted and cared for from the start. Mandatory spay neuter seems to be the easy answer for states and municipalities, knowing full well that those measures don’t solve the problem created by irresponsible pet owners.

Attention to health has improved with genetic testing and some very specific conditions are being bred away. Additionally, reproduction science continues to improve making long distance and low probability breedings very successful.

Preservationist breeding is gaining momentum. The goal of preservation breeding is to maintain the traits, characters, and hereditary factors which one different from another, preserving those genes which will benefit each breed in the future. It requires that breeders look to both conservation of those beneficial genes and rehabilitation/restoration of a gene pool when health and integrity of type and use are at.

The biggest issue is full understanding of the breed standard—which can be a challenge, just on its own. Most breed standards are not clearly written, leaving much to interpretation. If an illustrated standard exists, judges may not know about it. Review and modification of the breed standard by each national club, as warranted, should be a regular event that includes not just the breeders and enthusiasts who are most tenured, but those who can be objective about type within the standard, and those who agree that clear and concise descriptions should override any emotional attachment to language and terminology that is outdated. With standards that are better understood, better applied, judges can focus on attributes that are important to the breed and weigh them appropriately.

There is a lot of flash with some of the pure sight hound breeds, and it makes them popular with both judges and the public. Smaller Hounds have the cuteness factor. Some breeds with magnificent representation are often overlooked. The Ridgeback is one of them.

I’d love to share that I love this magazine. ShowSight often includes articles and interviews that are controversial in nature that get people thinking. It’s good for the fancy—in a lot of ways! Thank you.

 

Jacquelyn Fogel

I bred my first litter of Bassets in 1971. I was young, stupid, and still thought my mom knew almost everything. She didn’t. I lost the entire litter of seven puppies because I didn’t have a whelping box, and the puppies got chilled. Mom said dogs could do everything on their own. She was wrong. I began to immerse myself into the world of professional dog breeding after that tragedy. Showing came a few years later. The first litter was whelped in Reno, Nevada on my summer break from college. The next two were whelped in Tucson, Arizona while I was in Graduate School. When I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1978 to start a professional career with the Mayor of Milwaukee, I brought a pregnant bitch from my second litter with me. She had eight puppies a month after the move. In 1987 I began to work for United Way of Washington County, and we moved to five acres in the country outside West Bend, Wisconsin. We built a small eight-run breeding kennel, and kept at least four dogs in the house. In 1995 we built Cedar Creek Pet Resort, which houses additional First Class Bassets and Bedlingtons.

I chose Bassets because that was my family dog growing up in Reno. I have always loved their temperament. They are soft, sweet companions with ears that are absolutely therapeutic for a troubled teenage girl. I didn’t like that my family dog had to live outside her entire life because my mom hated the hound odor, so as soon as I moved to Tucson for college, I requested a puppy of my own. I lived with my dad and he approved. My boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful Basset puppy from a good breeder for Christmas. The boyfriend was gone two years later, but by then I was entirely smitten by the Basset breed and have not been without one since.

Breeding Bassets started as a fun and challenging hobby for me as I pursued a professional career that included being on the senior staff of a large-city mayor, executive director of a United Way, and independent research consultant. When I left United Way I decided to pursue a career that did not include elected politics or fundraising. I built a full-service boarding/grooming/training facility that would better accommodate my growing passion for breeding dogs. The year we opened Cedar Creek Pet Resort I added Bedlington Terriers to my breeding program. As my Bedlingtons became top-winning dogs, many people began to forget that I had started in Bassets, though I never stopped breeding or showing them.

Bassets are a wonderful family pet because they are low maintenance, and they get along with all other creatures. They shed year-round, and their oily coat with its wrinkles can produce a pungent odor that some find intolerable. But if you can get past those two shortcomings, it’s a breed that’s fun to live with. They are stubborn and willful, and much smarter than most people think. They require lots of positive reinforcement training, and an occasional “come to Jesus” meeting, but their friendship and clownish antics are worth the effort. You can’t have a bad day living with Bassets.

Bassets were bred to hunt in a pack without human guidance. That explains a lot about their nature. They totally understand pack behavior, and will practice it whether or not their humans understand what they are doing. If you don’t remind your Basset that you are the pack leader, they will gladly fill the vacancy with themselves. They are wonderful at sorting out their pack hierarchy by themselves, and if you try to intervene, it usually just causes temporary confusion within their ranks. Rest assured, they will sort it out according to their needs, not yours. I always say that people tend to resemble the dogs they choose. Bassets love to be underestimated, are smarter than people think they are, and rarely try to kill each other, though they can be pushed into a harsh correction by a pack member’s very bad behavior. The only problems I see with Bassets adapting to a more modern world that includes few of the activities they were bred for, is that their understanding of pack behavior confuses their owners. It is extremely difficult to train a dog who sees himself as the pack leader within a home environment. Bassets will try to train their humans in the ways of their pack, unless you are clear with them that humans, not dogs, will be pack leaders in the home. It is very important to start training young Bassets early if you want them to behave. If you don’t train them, they will train you, and that’s not always a good idea.

I think overall Basset quality within show dogs is about the same as it was 45 years ago. Except there are far fewer Bassets being shown now. It is a difficult breed to show, and it is not a “flashy” breed in the Group ring. It is a breed that is widely misunderstood by most judges and many breeders. Bassets are a soundly constructed dwarf breed. Their shoulder assembly and rear angulation is the same as any other sound dog’s standard that calls for an upper arm equal in length to the shoulder blade, well-angulated shoulder and stifle, equal length upper and lower thigh, and good reach and drive resulting from sound construction not loose ligaments and flaring elbows. They are hunting dogs bred for endurance. All serious faults (except ear length and texture) are found in the construction of the running gear. They should not become a caricature with too much skin, bone or shortness of leg. Movement is slow and deliberate, not fast. Too many serious faults are accepted while minor faults are severely punished. Owners who ultimately become breeders are confused by the judging, and will ultimately begin to breed the style of dog that wins rather than concentrating on soundness. In Bassets, breed-type absolutely flows from function and soundness. The standard is well written, but poorly understood. What passes for breed-type is often exaggerated features that do not contribute to soundness. This has remained a constant since I began showing in 1977. We all love a pretty face, but Basset breeders want a beautifully constructed shoulder more.

Judges new to Bassets often think the breed is difficult to judge, and I encourage them to shift their thought process a bit. Instead of looking first for the typiest dog from a distance, find the soundest dogs first, then step back and look for type and proportion from a distance. Soundness for a hunting hound must come first, and that should not be difficult for a judge to understand. Steep shoulders, short upper arms, elbows out and steep or cowhocked rears are not acceptable, so don’t include them in the finals no matter how cute they look from a distance. Trust your hands first. Don’t get so enraptured by the “frosting” that you miss the “cake” underneath. Some breed characteristics: long, folding ears and prominent sternum must also be there, but don’t think more is always better. If the ears are long enough to extend beyond the end of the nose, they’re acceptable, and longer isn’t necessarily better. Skin should wrinkle over the brow when the nose is to the ground, but lots of wrinkles everywhere else isn’t better. As Peg Walton always counseled, larger boned size considered (under 15 inches) is not the same as the bone of a 28" St Bernard!

Though the numbers of Bassets being shown has declined dramatically, the desire to own them as pets has skyrocketed. Most breeders no longer have trouble selling their puppies as pets. That was not always true in the past. I can easily sell three times as many puppies as I produce because the market for pets is so strong. Most people looking for pets tell me how hard it is to find quality breeders—and most of them recognize the difference between well-bred and commercially bred dogs. They no longer argue price, and they wait for puppies from a well-bred litter. In past years waiting lists usually included only show buyers who knew they wanted a dog from a particular bloodline, not pet owners who had no interest in showing or breeding. Now pet owners will wait for quality.

About 15 years ago I made a major shift in my Basset breeding program. Breeding Bedlingtons taught me the joy of working with a breed that gets pregnant easily, free-whelps, and takes great care of puppies. My original line of Bassets was beautiful, but they were not great at reproduction and neo-natal care. I hand-raised a lot of puppies that wanted to die. After five generations of mediocre mothers, I could no longer fool myself into believing something genetic wasn’t going on. I decided to alter my breeding program to correct this problem. I kept only bitches who were sound, good whelpers, and great mothers. If a dam exhibited any problems at all in whelping or mothering, she was spayed and placed in a pet home. I am now on the third generation of good mothers, and my life has become so much easier! However, in the process of breeding whelping and mothering ability back in, I lost some head type. Since they don’t hunt on their heads, this was a fair trade-off for me My heads were not out of standard, they just weren’t beautiful. Now I am working on maintaining soundness, reproductive health, and improving head type. The results are beginning to pay off. One of my dogs is currently ranked #1 in all breed points, and #3 in 
breed points.

One trend I’d like to stop is running with Bassets. The standard is clear—slow, deliberate movement. That doesn’t mean a well-constructed dog can’t move out, it just means that it’s fine if they don’t race around the ring with their heads held high at Afghan speeds. Yes, we train our dogs to carry their heads up instead of nose-to-the-ground like they want. But that is more to show off beautiful front movement than it is to be stylish. Those ears can hide a lot of ugly in the front if the head is allowed to go down too. I also don’t like to see judges sacrifice the qualities that will lead to endurance in the field for traits that are purely cosmetic. Bassets are not a head breed, but they must be long, low and well-built.

Bassets will never be fancy or glamorous, but a good one should catch a judges’ eye because there are so few sound and beautiful dogs being shown. As a breeder I don’t like seeing flashy, unsound dogs place in group. But I do like seeing sound dogs place regardless of their bloodline. My Bassets have taught me to behave consistent with a pack. We’re there to support each other, and we applaud the good ones no matter where they come from. We work together and we don’t try to kill each other. We don’t mind being underestimated, and we are persistent.

My involvement with dogs has literally opened up the world to my husband, Tom Rich, and me. Our first trip to Europe was to bring a Basset Hound to Switzerland and pick up two Bedlingtons in France. Since then we have been to France twice more, and have been to the World Dog Shows in Paris and Milan. I also took Tom to Wales to research his ancestry, even though the night before we left he admitted that he had no idea if he was Welsh. We love travel, and look forward to all trips with or without dogs.

 

Dawn Garbett

I am in McCalla, Alabama, a small town outside of Birmingham. I have been involved in purebred dogs for over 20 years and became involved in showing almost 15 years ago. My outside of dogs interest are my three wonderful kids. We homeschool and like to stay active as a family. My oldest son is actually following in my foot steps with a passion for showing Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Ridgebacks were used to help hunters bay lions and large game. They are athletic dogs that were willing to do whatever was asked, from hunting, to herding, to protection of their families. They are aloof and reserved with strangers, yet loyal and loving with 
their families.

I am asked all the time about how well they adapt to indoor living. They are known as an active breed and definitely require a certain amount of exercise, but are adaptable to their family’s lifestyle. Once they outgrow puppyhood, a good run and a comfy couch suit them just fine.

I feel like, overall, quality of the breed is good. I feel like, as in most breeds, the quality depends on the show.

Changes I have seen since my time involved. I think we are starting to get away from the mentality that bigger is better. It’s nice to see in standard dogs out winning. When I first got into showing, we also had mainly dogs dominating the breed rankings. We have seen bitches really coming into their own and cleaning up. It’s nice to see the girls out showing and getting recognition.

When I first started in the breed, few people on the street recognized the Rhodesian. Now, we meet more and more people that recognize the breed. We are also seeing them pop up in commercials.

Challenges in current economic and social climate. Starting out as a newer breeder, while raising a family, is a challenge. It does take a certain amount of strategy to find the right panels, do the right amount of advertising, and make your dollar go as far as possible.

As I said before, I think I judges are trying harder to find dogs that fit the breed standard in size. Our dogs weren’t meant to take down lions, they were meant to bay them. An enormous dog isn’t, typically, going to be agile enough to stay out of the way of large game. I would like to see us get away from the trend of using dogs that are over-angulated or overdone.

New judges need to be aware that the flashy, over-angulated dog may not be the most correct dog in the ring.

Ridgebacks can be more reserved and aren’t necessarily as flashy as some of the hound breeds like the Whippets or Dachshunds, but I feel like a nice Ridgeback will be found on the group level. Bests are a bit tougher.

Funniest story. Oh goodness. I was still really new to showing and I was running my mouth with friends and realized they were calling my class. I went running with my puppy and slipped and busted my butt in front of everyone. I tried to jump up and pretend it never happened. Showed my puppy and thought I could play it all off. The club had me fill out an accident report and had the judge sign as a witness. It’s funny now, but I was mortified!

 

Jerrilyn Gates

In my 30+ years involved in Pharaoh Hounds and 20+ years in Cirnechi, I’ve had the pleasure to achieve success in both conformation and lure coursing. I’ve owned and bred many top winning coursers, and bred multiple Champions and Dual Champions. My most outstanding achievement is having bred the first AKC Champion and Grand Champion for the breed, GCH Direttamenti Via d’Lea.

I currently live in North Central Texas, the small town of Kaufman. Dogs have been part of my life since birth, but waited until 1984 to get my first show dog, a Pharaoh Hound, and my first Cirneco dell’Etna in 1998. There isn’t much I do outside of dog activities, but my husband and I like to see movies on occasion. My hobbies generally involve a dog activity of some sort. When traveling to and from, I enjoy listening to audio books, and love 
good mysteries.

The Cirneco is used primarily as a hunter for rabbit and other small game and vermin. They work very well individually or in pairs and groups. Temperament is typical of many hound breeds, can be aloof and choosy on whom they make friends with, but mostly very personable and outgoing. Their popularity is slowly increasing as people see how easy they are to live with and the multitude of activities they can participate in. Though they are still pretty low on the AKC list of popularity, ranked around 183.

My dogs all love having their pampered life of couches, toys and temperature control They do enjoy spending time outside playing when the weather allows for it, but do request to come back inside when it’s less ideal. It’s also not uncommon to have everyone piled on the couch all snuggled up together. However, they are pretty adaptable and accept changes in situations pretty easily.

The current quality of the breed is pretty outstanding. There are certainly some variances in “type”, but all still have the necessary components of the breed (square, level topline, eye color, coat). My husband has mentioned on multiple occasions that the Cirneco started out with better quality dogs than many breeds when introduced to the US and AKC.

There truly hasn’t been too much change in the breed structurally, with the exception of the fronts have improved considerably. The biggest change I’ve seen is with temperaments. In the beginning, so many were shy and unsure, but now it’s sometimes hard to keep them from jumping into the arms of everyone they meet.

I think within the Hound Group, the popularity has been unchanged in quite a while. The public tends to look toward the exotic and flashy, or the cute little hunters. Having a breed that isn’t something the “average Joe” is going to consider makes it easier to keep the breed as intended. Not much worry of excessive populations resulting in extreme health issues or massive rescue intakes.

The challenges I face, are the same that every other breeder and owner is facing. The influx of animal rights sponsored legislation restricting ownership, and supporting mandatory sterilization. These days it’s very hard to stay in the “dog business or hobby” when you worry about coming home from the store one day to find a flurry of Police and Animal Control vehicles parked in your driveway.

Trends I hope continue: having a breed that is pretty much the same as it has been since the time of their depictions on Ancient coins and pottery.

Trends I’d like to see stopped: the divide among fanciers. I know this is a world where people seldom agree on anything, but I would like to see people put their emotions in check long enough to do what is best for your breed. I would also like to see more of the old camaraderie we used to see in the show community. It pains me to see that dissipating, and the increasing “it’s all about 
me!” syndrome.

The biggest pitfall for new judges is the variance in what they read and study for the breed versus what they are being told as 
the interpretation.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? In so many shows the tendency to look to the flashy and extreme sometimes overshadows what is truly a correct dog. The less popular breeds to often get overlooked and don’t get the placements they should deserve.

The US, and what people term “AKC breeders” are known for always trying to improve a breed to the point of being unrecognizable. Breeders need to remember where the breed started and strive to keep it as such. Something I have seen in too many breeds is having someone in power that wants to change the standard and the perception of the breed to match their individual preferences.

The funniest thing at a dog show: 1999, Pharaoh Hound National in Ocala, Florida. Standing under the large permanent pavilion waiting to be called in for the next class. Something to my right catches my eye, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I elbow the exhibitor next to me to bring it to her attention. As we both stifle our laughter, an older woman (60+) was sauntering through the crowd clad in tight black leather hipster pants, a very low cut (almost see-through) black mid-drift top and stilettos. She had high teased bottle blonde hair, very long red fingernails and rings on every finger. There was a leather leash draped over her shoulder and it was attached to the collar on the very young (20 something) man trailing along behind her.

 

Adrian Ghione

We reside in Oakdale, California. My wife, Trina and I raise a few different breeds under the name Noble Kennels. I have been involved in dogs since I was 16 years old, so 25 years. With activities ranging from handling, grooming, training, agility, breeding, etc. My “get away from the dogs” is fishing.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is the smallest member of the Podengos, it is primarily a sighthound. They hunt in packs, usually of all three sizes together. As it can be imagined, they are very active and very prey driven and, as such, they require lots of activity and exercise. They also have a tendency to be very vocal.

As more people are discovering how well suited this breed is to performance activities, specially coursing, fast cat, etc. they are becoming more and more popular.

Due to their smaller size, they adapted quite well to their new indoor pampered life. I am a firm believer that they still need regular and constant activities and exercise to maintain, not only their physical health, but also their mental health.

Podengos are more consistent in quality and health than they were when the breed was first introduced to AKC. I think most breeders in the US understood the necessity to increase the size of the gene pool, and so they did by importing dogs from different breeders across Europe. Most developed breeding relationships with said European counterparts. This led to an influx, not only of dogs, but also information, education, guidance and help.

I have seen our beautiful breed go from a handful of very different examples to a solid breed with defined breed type. The Last National Specialty I attended had an 100 entry limit and it was reached! The quality of this entry was exceptionally high, with many of dogs deserving the top award equally.

Like I mentioned before, people are discovering this little hard working hound and realizing its potential not only in conformation, but also in performance activities, such as lure coursing, fast cat, agility, obedience, rally, etc. Another factor, I believe, is the minimal grooming as well as the generally good health of this breed.

Obviously, with all the new anti-dog legislations, it is becoming more difficult and more expensive to keep a kennel properly stocked for breeding. A problem quickly solved by breeders working together as a team with one common goal, to improve the overall quality of our Podengos.

Just participating in events, with the rising price of gas, lodging, vehicles, etc. is becoming difficult and in some cases prohibiting

I love the fact that most breeders and owners are giving as much importance to performance activities as to conformation. This is helping and pushing us to breed more “well rounded” dogs. I think that breeding dogs with that are capable of adapting and excelling at as many different activities as one can come up with, is a trend we can all agree to try to continue.

For the longest time they were only a handful of people that were involved enough to be able to teach newcomers, and the number of dogs available to these new and aspiring judges was small. Now a days, with the increase in popularity and the rise in the numbers, all judges have the opportunity to get information, education and/or hands on experience from a number of different breeders with different opinions and ideals. This is paramount on creating a good and well founded judging criteria.

Well, our breed is still new-ish to AKC and I think there’s still some judges that haven’t seen or judge enough Podengos. With that being said, We are not amongst the most winning breeds in the group, statistically speaking. As we see bigger entries and more dogs being bred, we will also see (hopefully) an increase in the quality of the dogs being sent to group and BIS which will improve the chances of Podengos.

A word of advice for anybody considering getting involved or starting to judge our breed, or any breed for that matter. Do not take my or anybody’s word as the sole truth, talk to as many breeders, owners, handlers, judges as you can, do your diligent research. Come up to your own conclusions. The more educated your opinion is, the more valuable it becomes.

Funniest thing at a dog show: probably when the Standard Schnauzer I was showing decided to go to the bathroom on his individual free bait. I didn’t think it was funny at the time, but when I look back at it I can’t stop laughing.

 

Sandy Gillen

I discovered and fell in love with Portuguese Podengo Pequenos at Crufts in 2007 and got my first one in 2008. I got GCH CH Windshift Teasel at Happy Hobbits as a puppy in 2013 who has been a dream dog! BOB, Kennel Club of Philadelphia; BOS, two years at WKC; BOS, two years Owner Handled Finals; BOS and Select; AKC National Championship! To top it all, Best Bitch at Crufts over 33 bitches. Teasel’s first litter of four, all Grand Champions by two years. Teasel is expecting a litter of four in mid-May.

The most important thing for me in Portuguese Podengo Pequenos was to get Teasel from her breeder, Sally Poole in California. The next most important thing was to meet both Kim and Karen and have them each get a female puppy from Teasel’s first litter—now both Grand Champions.

Since Kim Ragsdale, Karen Sage and I have gotten together to show and breed Pequenos, we have purchased Pequenos from long time Breeders in the USA, England and Portugal and co-own them as we work together on breeding plans and showing in conformation. We all have 25-30 years of experience in breeding and showing in our other breeds. We have both Wire and Smooth Pequenos and we carefully critique and health test our Pequenos before planning a litter. I believe that will help us breed to the Pequeno Breed Standard.

I live in Columbia, Maryland. I have bred and shown Purebred dogs for 50 years. I started with Scottie’s and am a Silver Breeder of Merit in Border Terriers (need three more titles for Gold) and a Breeder of Merit in Portuguese Podengo Pequenos. I started a group at my church that we visit a nursing home twice a month with my dogs. I share my dog’s to go with those who love dogs but don’t have a dog now.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a small rustic hound from Portugal. It was bred to hunt rabbits in a pack using sight, scent and hearing. They are happy, outgoing little dog’s, but most like to initiate when meeting someone new. Many are sound sensitive.

In Portugal, many of the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos are housed outside in their temperate climate. Here in the USA, most live both indoors and outside. The Pequenos love to be outside with not only other Pequenos but other breeds as well—Border Terriers, Mini Wire Dachshunds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and even my two Borzoi.

Initially in the United States you saw the Wire/Rough coated Pequenos. I think that the quality is improving in Wires with the breeders who have been long-time breeders in other breeds as well, and are carefully critiquing when planning a litter. Smooths are now being seen in the show ring. These initial Smooths, that should have been the ones with “breed type” needed more bone and substance with better triangular head and movement. There are now more Smooths coming into the United States with better “breed type”. All we have to do is re-educate the judges on how to judge the Smooths and Wires in the ring.

I have seen improvements in both the Wires and Smooths. There are still the problems with the fronts being out at the elbow and east/west feet with weak pasterns. We need to pay attention to ear sets, eye shape and head shape.

I believe that the more people see both the Wire and Smooth Pequenos their popularity will increase. They are such clever funny little hounds!

My biggest challenges: tt is always a challenge to find show and performance homes for puppies. As the Pequenos become better known as a friendly happy companion there will be more 
pet/companion homes.

Kim, Karen and I want to see the Smooths that have better breed type be recognized in the conformation ring—correct triangular head, correct ear set, strong straight front, easy correct movement. I would like to see the Judges penalize the Wires that are shown scissored, with product in their coats so they are not in the ribbons! This is in our Breed Standard!

The biggest pitfall facing new and novice judges is a real understanding that the Wire and the Smooth should be structurally the same—only the coat is different and it is a single-coated breed.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is certainly not a “glamour” breed. Wires have the “cute” factor going for them and the Smooths look “sharp”. In such a large Group as the Hound Group, I think they get lost in the crowd.

I would encourage Judges and those conformation folk that are looking to downsize to get to know the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos. They make me laugh and smile every day!

 

Karen Sage

I currently live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania not far from the Pocono Mountains. My love of all animals has taken me down many roads over the last 40+ years, including working/training horses for a therapeutic riding program, training and whelping puppies for Susquehanna Service Dogs and becoming a Barn Hunt judge. I purchased my first Cavalier in 2001 and since then, with the help of my daughter, Liz Colbert, have bred and shown multiple Champions, BISS winning Cavaliers and put various performance titles (rally, agility, coursing and Barn Hunt) on cavaliers in both AKC and CKCSC-USA. Outside of dogs, I like to sew, knit and paint.

I have watched the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno since it’s inception into AKC’s FSS and met Sandy Gillen and her beautiful “Teasel” at a local conformation show in 2014. I was thrilled when Sandy offered me a puppy from Teasel’s first litter; she is GCH Happy Hobbits Morena California. I now also co-own two PPP boys with Sandy and Kim Ragsdale and am expecting my first Pequeno litter any day.

I would add that PPP are quite silly and clown-like and can fit into almost any lifestyle. They are smart and biddable, so make great family pets. As Kim and Sandy both mentioned, there isn’t a day that goes by that these silly dogs don’t make us smile and/or laugh out loud.

I do believe that the breed is improving, but with such a small gene pool (with some consistent faults) here in the US, it is important to continue to import quality dogs from other countries. When I first started looking for a PPP, I saw very few that exuded breed type. In fact Sandy’s “Teasel” was the first one that I saw from a distance and said to myself “Wow, there is a PPP!”

I feel that because of their size, temperament and versatile nature, PPP are growing in popularity, not only with other “hound people”, but also people who come from other breeds.

I feel that one of the biggest challenges (and trend I would like to see halted) is the growing popularity of “designer dogs” and the mistaken belief that they are somehow healthier than purebred dogs. Too many people (including some breeders) seem to think that genes can “blend”!

One of the pitfalls for new judges (in any breed) can be a lack of quality dogs in some areas and the tendency to overlook the one dog (in a line-up) that might look different from the rest, but actually is closest to the standard.

Pequenos often get overlooked in the group ring because they aren’t as flashy as the larger hounds or as popular as the 
smaller hounds.

While it may not be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a dog show, our boy Ch Lider De Viamonte (just 13 months at the time) had the spectators roaring with laughter in the group ring earlier this year. I’d had surgery on my hand and was unable to show for a few weeks, so I asked Michael and Michelle Scott to show Lider for a weekend. When Lider gets bored, he likes to pass the time by rolling on his back. While waiting for their turn, Lider started rolling and flailing on the floor; he refused to get up, so Michelle couldn’t resist getting down on her hands and knees and playing with him. This is the type of behavior that so many of us find endearing in this breed!

 

Kimberly Ragsdale

I am from a small unincorporated area outside of Charleston, West Virginia. I have been involved in the world of purebred dogs since childhood, which is over 40 years. I have competed in obedience, agility, earthdog, field events and conformation. When I am not working as an operating room nurse or taking care of my furry children, I enjoy cross stitch and needlepoint.

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a primitive breed that is used in Portugal to hunt rabbits. They hunt in small packs usually incorporating Medio and Grande Podengos. The Pequeno uses sight, scent and hearing to hunt game. They are friendly, outgoing happy little dogs who like to make their presence known. Shyness should be penalized in the conformation ring. Socializing Pequenos starts in the whelping box.

The Pequenos in this country (USA) are house dogs, who require at least a mile a day walk or a nice securely fenced yard to run and play. If Pequenos are not given ample attention and exercise, they will find mischief! Pequenos are pack hounds and get along with other breeds, small or large.

The Pequeno quality is okay. I feel that the fronts in this breed need improvement in both Wires and Smooths. This will take several generations of selective breeding to start getting correct fronts. As breeders, we need to look long and hard at our breeding stock. Know your dog’s positive aspects and their faults and breed to a dog that keeps the strong qualities and helps improve the faults—only keep those that improve. We cannot become “kennel blind”.

When the breed was recognized by the AKC in January 2012, the Wire-coated Pequeno was the most popular. In the last two years, Smooths are gaining in popularity. Smooth Pequenos were the original coat.

My biggest challenges: I find it a problem to find proper pet homes for any purebred dogs. The public has had media suggesting “adopt/rescue...don’t buy” campaign, so people are forgetting about purebred dogs. Animal Rights folks are hurting the purebred dog world in general. As purebred dog breeders, we are the guardians of our special breeds.

Karen, Sandy and myself just returned from Portugal with three very nice Smooth Pequenos. We feel these three Smooth Pequenos represent correct breed type, nice front assemblies, correct ear sets, and nice fluid movement. I am a believer that form follows function. The biggest problem is judges are really not following the written PPP standard. Pequenos are a rustic breed. The Standard states, “Coat that has been altered by excessive sculpting, clipping or artificial means shall be penalized as to be effectively eliminated from competition.” Professional handlers are doing this on a consistent basis and judges are putting up these over-groomed dogs.

The biggest pitfall for new judges is that judges not reading the written standard!

Pequenos are a rustic, lively little dog. Wires have the “cute factor” appearance. The lively personality is what attracted me to this breed. They make me laugh every day. I think judges are timid about giving newly recognized breeds Group placements—again, not knowing the breed standard.

 

Dee Hagy

As a resident of Texas I feel somewhat blessed to be in an area that not only offers so much opportunity to exhibit our dogs but also to have been mentored by some of the most accomplished breeders in our breed. My wife, Patricia and I were married in 1977 and originally moved to the Houston area to start my career in the golf profession and her’s as an elementary education teacher. We later moved to Dallas, Texas where our love for the Basset Hound began. Our first hound, although not meant to be of show quality, was purchased from Beverly and Lee Stockfelt of the BevLee Kennel. Our first real showdog was purchased in 1986 from Jeanne Hills of the Musicland Kennel. Simon finished his championship rather quickly and was a multiple group winning Basset. Still being a novice at the time it was only with the help of the late Roy Murry that we were able to accomplish this. However I will add, my first Hound Group win was with Simon as an owner handler in 1989 and is a day I will never forget. I attribute my enthusiasm in the sport to breeders like Jeanne Hills that blessed me with a dog I could win with when I started in the sport. It is so important that we as breeders keep that in mind when trying to encourage new exhibitors into the our sport. My philosophy is to get them a good dog, co-own the dog with them to maintain some control while you are mentoring them. Whether it be in performance events, obedience, rally or conformation, the feeling of accomplishment comes from one being successful in their endeavor. This goes for breeding a good dog as well.

Having been in dogs for 34 years, I have ventured out into other breeds along the way. In the mid 90s I finished a Golden Retriever (CH. Tejas’s Quervo Gold) and also had co-owned a couple of Boxer’s with the Turo Kennels in 2002. When I realized that it really requires three arms and three hands to properly show a Boxer, I decided it was best to stay with the Basset Hound which better suited my personality and lifestyle.

The Basset Hound was bred for the purpose of hunting hare, and are very tenacious when doing so. Their scent is extremely good and is second only to the Bloodhound. It is a true joy to watch a Basset do what they love to do. This function is important to understand when evaluating the proper structure of the Basset. The proper structure in not just to look pretty in the show ring. A Basset must be equipped with the right characteristics in order to properly perform its purpose. The Basset is a sturdy dog, with short legs, heavier in bone proportionate to size than any other breed. The Basset is built for moving through heavy brush and difficult terrain in pursuit of its prey and should be able to perform its function with great endurance for long periods of time. Proper structure with well laid back shoulders for adequate reach, a good bend and length of stifle for strong rear drive gives the Basset Hound the running gear to accomplish this. The low ear set is for gathering the scent as the Basset tracks with his head close to the ground. For those who are more interested in the Basset Hound for their personality and temperament, they can be the greatest companion dogs and couch potatoes you have ever seen. They are as comfortable on the couch as they are in the field.

I do find that most hounds like to be outside using their nose. You rarely ever see a hound when taken out on the lead for a walk wanting to be strutting around with their head held high in the air. They always are trying to lure you over into the grass or brush to use their nose. In spite of their desire to use their nose, the Basset is highly adaptable and do very well indoors as a house pet. Their personality is not one that requires them to be outdoors hunting all time.

I think there are some very good representatives of our breed throughout the country however I would be somewhat complacent if I did not say that overall there are certain traits of the breed that need improvement. We all as breeders fight the front end assembly. Good fronts seem to be the hardest to maintain in a breeding program however are one of the most important factors for proper structure in our breed. A majority of the weight of the Basset is in the front end and needs the proper support. A good length of upper arm with proper angle and wrap are necessary for the legs to be under the heaviest part of the Basset. Poorly wrapped and straight fronts seem to be more and more prevalent in our breed today.

The most obvious change and the one that concerns me the most are the declining number of Bassets being shown. I think this is typical for most breeds today. Another change as it relates to our breed is the requirement for the Basset to be examined by the judge on a ramp. I think this has been a welcomed change by most in our breed because the Basset presents better on the ramp. And of course for us aging breeders it has been nice spending less time getting up and down in the show ring. in addition, even though the numbers for each individual breed has declined, we have seen the number of individual breeds within the Hound Group increase. I think the total number of breeds now is 32 .

The increasing cost of travel, hotel expense, entry fees, etc. have been a contributing factor to the declining numbers of new exhibitors entering the sport. Not only are people showing fewer dogs because of the cost of entries, they travel to less shows and and are much more selective as to where they go. In addition the cost of dog ownership has also increased dramatically over the past few years making it increasing more difficult for young couples with families just to own a pet.

Over the past few years we have seen the AKC become very innovative in trying to encourage more events in which exhibitors can participate. The National Owner Handler Series is seeing a great deal of participation and one that I will always support. 
The new title of Grand Champion is now available for exhibitors to work toward obtaining a new title on their dog after it is finished. We have seen excellent participation in both of these. Many exhibitors that will not actively campaign their dog after its championship title is obtained, now have a motive to continue showing their dog that may otherwise not have been shown again.

One thing I would like to add for new breeders and exhibitors coming into the breed. Success is not achieved overnight and takes time. Be patient, enjoy the sport, learn from the experienced breeders and always focus on breeding a better dog. Any success one has is because of the successful breeding someone has done before them. It is our responsibility to continue their work with sound 
breeding principles.

 

Jay Hyman

I live in Suburban Maryland, near the Howard County Fairgrounds. My first dog show was in showing a Wire Hair Fox Terrier in 1941, which was then at the Shouse Estate (now Reston, Virgini). As I grew up, went to U of Penn, Wharton, and Harvard Law School, in 1959 I was married, had one son, a new house and it was time for a dog. My wife did not want a Dobe. so we settled on a Rhodesian Ridgeback, they were about five years in this country. I went to the best breeder in Cal (Lamarde Perro) and to Kleinberg, Ontario, and got my foundation Stock. Today I am the oldest living breeder in the US and probably in the world. I have bred continuously since 1959. My family consists of three sons and 
four grandsons.

Today I am a basically retired attorney, whose remaining law practice relates to show dogs, representing the fancy in disputes among owners, importing , exporting, dogs, the AKC, and occasional vet major malpractice (such as against the vet who took in the number one bitch of a breed to do her hips and spayed her). 

There are a lot of people who show, breed, back a dog etc., and if they have a problem they find me or one of two other attorneys who do the same type of practice. In addition over the years I have collected fountain pens, watches and cameras.

The breed has matured in the last 60 years, but there are still some good ones and some not as good. On the whole, they are more refined, probably better (milder) tempered, and consistent in type. In the last 20 year they have gone from 70th in popularity to 45th. We advise to only buy from a breeder on the Club (RRCUS) breeders list. The club tries to help control less than the most ethical breeders. There is no excuse for an unhappy buyer. The primary purpose for breeding is to produce dogs that make good companions and secondarily for top showing/winning dogs.

The Ridgeback was bred in South Africa for two purposes, to protect the home and to hunt big game. They were expected to run alongside a horse all day, and have enough energy to bring a lion etc. to bay for the hunter to dispose of it. They did not (hopefully) attack the lion, but would attack smaller game. In terms of protection they were to warn intruders, or bring them to bay, but normally would not attack. Most Hounds have adapted to current living but most are still capable of performing their original functions on a more limited basis. The Ridgeback is in this category. They are not quick to attack animal or person.

In general, the current Ridgeback is of better quality and consistency than the earlier generations. This is shown by the number that are winning Groups, and BIS. It is still not recognized as many of the other hounds such as Greyhound and Whippets I wrote an article once on why they were more of a Sighthound than Scenthound. Actually they are both, but at the time there was only a Sighthound Magazine and I wanted them in it. I would rather show against a Greyhound than a Bloodhound. As a lawyer the best mantra is, “Pay me a fee and I will argue either side”.

As noted there is more consistency today in the breed, better (more stable) temperament and probably less bad hips, dermoid sinus, lack of ridges. In the olden days the 5 % that were born without ridges, were put down. Today they are sold at a much reduced price to people who can’t afford today’s inflated prices. In temperament they are just as good as one with a ridge. Today, most dermoid sinus can be removed and the dog is a good pet. I would not deliver one or sell one unless a competent vet has removed the dermoid.

The Ridgeback has continued to become more popular and in demand. It is relatively healthy, has relatively few congenital defects, cancer etc., and is easy to maintain as a companion. It is good with family and kids in general, its maintenance and vet bills are less than other breeds of its size. The most popular second breed is the Whippet. They can play with the Ridgeback, they are hardy and don’t start fights. Probably the least popular or recommended second breed would be a Jack Russell.

The biggest problem is probably not letting the gene pool get so narrow by linebreeding so as to not only double up on the good but doubling up on the bad. This affects not only genetic problems but temperament problems. Some of the challenges are because of the size the cost of maintaining and the greatly accelerating vet costs. Today between health testing, progesterone testing, possible c sections, etc. I can have many thousands in a litter that may not be born, or more in a litter that is born. In terms of social climate, some insurance companies classify them as a dangerous breed and that is a problem all by itself.

I like the trend of continuing popularity, but it does being in the puppy mills or unethical breeder who just wants to make a profit. This is no longer capable of being ignored, the best defense is to tell people to only deal with breeders on the RRCUS Breeders list, to treat possible buyers with respect, and try to educate them.

In terms of new judges, study and learn from everyone, do not be influenced only by a mentor who is pushing their specific line or type of dog. This has been a problem in the past. You should be able to be friendly with everyone who has Ridgebacks, they should not attempt to foist their type of dog, and should be willing to accept all other breeders lines. Do not accept either shy or aggressive dogs, there is no excuse for either. Study particularly the angle of the shoulder, how the top line goes into the neck, and head.In my view, an ideal head is copied for an English Foxhound, I like two cylinders of different size that join without too much stop. Try for a dog that is slightly longer than tall, that has a strong neck, and that looks like he could do the job. I think that going and coming can only hurt not help, if they don’t have decent side go I don’t care about going and coming. Effortless stride that could run all day 
is desirable.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? I really don’t understand which are the glamor breeds, if a flowing coat moves you, be sure that their movement has the proper lift and spring. Be sure that the temperament is not only acceptable, but is desirable. Would you take that dog home to live with? Probably what affects the winning more than glamor is the handling, do not be blind to the handler, but be sure, that is not the only thing you are looking at. I don‘t think that “glamor breeds” have an advantage in the “Group or Best In Show”. I do think that breeds that are older, better recognized and more often win the “big ones” have an advantage in these venues just because it is more expected. As a judge of BIS it is harder to put up a less recognized breed. It is also probably easier (less likely to be criticized) to put up a dog that has been winning a lot. I have always tried not to let any of those factor’s influence me and from the moment each dog comes in the ring, just to concentrate on how that dog is performing against the standard I have in my mind.

Some dogs are funny and some are not. I remember when Bob Fisher wanted to examine me on the wicket, and I did not have my tape measure. He told me to find a tape and wicket and he would find me a dog. Well, this was 20 years ago and the dog he found me was the first Neapolitan Mastiff I had examined. I told Jim Deppen, “Hold the head”. Fisher and Deppen laughed more than I did.

 

Emily Kerridge

Emily Kerridge’s lifelong passion for Pharaoh Hounds began while crafting a 4th-grade report on Ancient Egypt. After falling in love with the lithe, prick-eared hounds in Egyptian art and culture, Emily acquired her first Pharaoh Hound the very next year, a show puppy named Noble who introduced her to the many competitive venues of the dog world. Noble went on to become the first of many Versatility Dogs for Emily, who breeds Pharaohs under the kennel prefix Nefer-Temu and has bred/owned over 40 Champions to date, as well as multiple Versatility Excellent title holders and Register of Merit Excellent producers. Outside of the dog world, Emily is a professional musician, Army Reservist, and mother to a five-year-old boy.

I am a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, currently, residing in southwest Washington. I became involved in Pharaoh Hounds 26 years ago, in 1993 at age 11 as a junior handler, and my involvement has increased steadily since. Outside of the dog world, I’m a professional trombone and euphonium player and have served 18 years in the Army Reserve.

Pharaoh Hounds are one of the most ancient breeds, descending from Egyptian sighthounds brought to and dispersed amongst the Mediterranean islands. For over 2000 years, Pharaoh Hounds (or Kelb-tal Fenek, meaning “rabbit dog,” as it is known in its homeland), were bred exclusively on the island of Malta and developed into the breed they are today. Primarily used as rabbit hunters over rough, rocky terrain, they function as both an adept sight and scent hound. Many also performed light herding duties and also served as family dogs. The breed is very pack-oriented, fun-loving, intelligent, keen/prey-driven, interactive, and independent-thinking. The Pharaoh Hound is one of the lesser-known and least-popular AKC breeds, though we have noticed it has become more widely recognizable to the public in the past decade.

Pharaoh Hounds are quite happy to live lives of comfort and luxury. So long as their physical needs are met and they are properly mentally and physically stimulated, they tend to make wonderful house pets and amazing family dogs. Since having had my own child, now 5 1/2 years of age, I can attest that this breed’s natural ability to integrate with children is both remarkable and 
beyond reproach.

Though the breed’s temperament quality has, on the whole, steadily improved during my 26 years in the breed, I feel health may have declined, as we have been seeing more random issues popping up here and there worldwide in recent years (or, at least, more health issues are now correctly identified and documented than in years past). As far as conformation goes, Pharaoh exhibitors worldwide are currently embroiled in a very obvious and divisive result of breed drift that has altered breed type significantly.

For the past decade plus, there has been a pronounced breed drift to a notably different, exaggerated silhouette—longer bodies, more extreme angulation (especially rear angulation), high-set ewe necks atop steep shoulders, high/parallel earsets—none of which are correct according to the words of the standard. Yet, much of this drift has been rewarded in the show ring with increasing frequency, thus propagating more of the same. As a rugged and functional hunting breed, it should exhibit a more balanced structure: slightly longer than tall, with well-laid back shoulders and a strong, functionally-set neck, capable of trotting/hunting for hours on end, taking tumbles off of sheer rock cliff faces, and coming up unscathed to continue the hunt. There should be nothing extreme, exaggerated, or “flashy,” about the breed, yet this has been the direction of the breed drift.

Like many other breeders, I am fearful of and threatened by all the anti-breeder, anti-animal-competition, and ultimately anti-animal-ownership legislation that is looming or has already been implemented based on misguided propaganda originating from Animal Rights extremists. I used to engage in open conversation with acquaintances and interested strangers about my showing and breeding of dogs. I used to invite people interested in the breed to my house to meet Pharaohs in person, and I used to advertise litter plans widely, but do not feel safe doing so anymore. With more and more throttling regulations going into effect alongside an increase of “police state” sort of behaviors by AR/animal control, I do legitimately fear for the future of our sport and profession. It seems we are slowly being regulated out of existence.

I’ve enjoyed seeing more and more Pharaoh owners/exhibitors training for and competing in a variety of competitions, showcasing the versatile nature of the breed, in recent years. My kennel motto has always been “Home of the Versatile Pharaoh,” and, in addition to show ring successes, Nefer-Temu pharaohs have gone on to title and rank at the highest levels of rally, agility, nosework, flyball, and of course, lure coursing. The Pharaoh Hound Club of America followed suit of so many other breed clubs about ten years ago by implementing a Triathlon event at the Nationals that has been getting enthusiastic participation. I hope to see that continue.

I’d love to see the breed drift to the overdone/flashy “great American showdog” silhouette seen for what it is—incorrect and unsound—and stop being rewarded by judges. I’d like to see the moderate, sound, and balanced silhouette and type preferred and rewarded by the majority of judges; not just at breed level, but more consistently at the group- and best-in-show levels, too.

I think new judges, or those who aspire to judge this breed, are entering at a difficult time right now, where the breed drift has been in process for years at this point. These newer judges may never have had the opportunity to see what the breed (as well as top winners in the breed) looked like in its first few decades of AKC admittance. The same goes for many of the newer (less than 10-15 year) breeders, or those aspiring to become Pharaoh breeders.

Currently, I believe the long, over-angled, ewe-necked exhibits may actually well outnumber the more correct exhibits in the rings in many regions of the USA (and definitely abroad). The pressure to put up a generically flashy Pharaoh is very high right now. I also feel like many older, well-established all-rounder judges have also succumbed to rewarding this style due to apathy, politics, or personal preference for a more generic show dog outline.

Sometimes there may only be one or two correct exhibits in an entry, and they may not even be specials, and they may not be the showiest or most professionally presented, and it takes a judge with a lot of confidence and “guts” (for lack of a better word) to put up the best dog when he/she is the odd man out in an entry these days.

Though many Pharaohs love to work and love to show and are real hams for the attention—I don’t identify this breed as a glamour breed at all. In fact, I believe the opposite. My mentor used to say “The Pharaoh Hound is the boring brown dog in group,” and “If the Pharaoh Hound goes around the ring and you missed it, it was probably correct,” as a way to emphasize to her mentees that this is a dead-sound, balanced working hound.

First, I want to reiterate the urgency of pulling our heads out of the sand and coming together in awareness of what is happening with regard to having our rights to own/breed/compete with animals slowly regulated away. With all the weekend-in, weekend-out competitiveness and pettiness of dog shows, we are all turning a blind eye to the bigger picture, which is going to eventually sink us all, regardless of our interpretations of our standards or 
breeding preferences!

Secondly, as much as I cut off my nose to spite my face in saying this (as I do handle professionally on the side, too, and I enjoy group placements as much as the next handler), I align with the growing number of fanciers from a wide array of different breeds who feel that doing away with Group competition and All-Breed ranking systems may be something worth considering to combat the divisive breed drift occurring in so many breeds.

 

Dr. Cheryl McDermott, DVM

Dr. Cheryl McDermott, DVM (Auburn ‘95) is a small animal veterinarian and owner of Timberland Veterinary Hospital in Ethel, Washington since 2005. She has a special interest in canine reproduction and health testing to help prevent inherited diseases. Kr’msun Hounds was founded by Dr. McDermott in 1999. With her first Pharaoh Hound, Lauren, and Xirneco, Tu, Cheryl discovered the versatility of these phenomenal breeds. Within four short years, Dr. McDermott has produced the first and only Gold and Silver Grand Champion, three Bronze GCHs, four GCHs, and 13 Champions while taking pride in following the AKC/FCI/ENCI standards.

Kr’msun kennels is located in Ethel, Washington on a scenic byway between Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. My involvement in dogs began with my first rescue Greyhounds in 1990 while I was in college. Upon moving to Florida after college, I discovered lure coursing and showing, as well as both the Pharaoh Hound and Cirneco dell’Etna, and became involved with those breeds before moving to Washington state in the early 2000s. Besides breeding and showing, I enjoy traveling, classic cars, and extracurricular activities with my 12 year old daughter. I also enjoy doing charity work with my family by helping pet rescues in Mexico by running spay/neuter clinics and donating medications annually if possible. I also provide a bi-annual “Breeder’s Day” at my clinic to offer affordable health tests to local AKC participants of all ages.

The Cirneco dell’ Etna was developed in Sicily over 2000 years ago. They appear on Greek and Roman coins, mosaics, and pottery. They were used to hunt rabbits and small fowl on and around the volcano, Mt. Etna, after which the breed was named. The breed is notably friendly, happy, intelligent, and active. Like their cousin breed, the Pharaoh Hound, they make great family dogs and are wonderful with children. They are extremely versatile, and I have been able to try many performance events with them. In the USA they are very rare, primarily due to lack of time being established as well as the difficulties of obtaining dogs from Europe over the last 25 years.

They have adapted very well to houses as social pack animals and love to hang out on sofas and beds. Cirnechi (plural of Cirneco) love the sun and flock to windows to sun themselves as well as monitor for intruders.

There are not many breeders in the USA. Most of us work closely together to find and breed quality dogs since the gene pool is so limited. I believe in adhering to the original country of origin standard as a means to preserving the breed’s form and function.

The most concerning change I see happening is the very recent push by the parent breed club to make the AKC standard deviate from the ENCI/FCI standard by eliminating a common and ancient color, chestnut, as well as eliminate white markings which have occurred for thousands of years. There is also a push to eliminate the height tolerances and narrow the margin of allowable heights with further disqualifications. Since chestnut coloration, allowable white markings, and a wider height tolerance with remain in effect in the country of origin (and all FCI countries), these changes to the standard could stagnate and significantly thwart importation and international breeding/showing efforts, which is a serious concern with such an already small genepool worldwide. These changes will also eliminate many previous and currently top winning dogs from further AKC show and performance events. The parent club is voting on this soon, as allowed by AKC board of directors.

I believe the breed is gaining popularity slowly but surely, as this year I have received the most inquiries in regards to the breed than in any previous years. The exposure of the breed on TV from the major dog shows has helped. People always exclaim, “What a beautiful dog! What breed is it?” when out and about.

The biggest challenge is the difficulty in attending many show and performance events, especially if over four hours away or more than two day duration, as running a veterinary clinic is more than a full time job in and of itself. On a more global level, the push for anti-breeding legislation in many different cities, counties, and states nationwide is more than concerning. With the vote end greyhound racing in Florida and shut down the very tracks I worked at myself as a newly graduated veterinarian, I’ve become even more concerned that their agenda to end all dog breeding, sports, and ownership is succeeding, and it is difficult to do anything about it, but we must get organized and stronger, and fast.

The AKC standard was created to follow the breed’s country of origin and FCI standards. I would like to support and see that continued, and am concerned that that the elimination of allowable colors and height tolerances will not only fault and disqualify many of the top-ranked/winning dogs in the history of the breed, but will be disastrous in hastening the creation of a genetic bottleneck that will affect the future health of the breed. By breeding dogs of smaller size in this breed cases of unsoundness can be 
more unpredictable.

The biggest pitfall is the lack of entries. This also will extend into preparing to complete all the requirements for the judges’ application for this rare breed such as adequate entries for provisional judges and the lack of true AKC-sanctioned specialties currently in this breed.

I do find it hard to compete against the popular glamour dogs and feel we can get behind the Pharaoh Hound and Ibizan Hound due to similarities. Many times in group competition there does not feel to be much support for this newer contender. I do not wish to see the breed change in ways that would make it appear more eye-catching and flashy in a group lineup, though, as we have all seen what happens when breed type changes fundamentally in order to try to get more group/all-breed wins (Pharaoh Hounds are one perfect example).

I have come to realize that juniors are our sport’s future and therefore try to have multiple kids showing my dogs. I find the hardest thing for them to swallow is not always getting the support by junior showmanship judges who have not learned the breed, because they are asked to place their Cirneco on the table (when this is a ramp or ground breed) or call them the “little brown dog,” not even knowing what the breed is really called.

 

Andy & Jack McIlwaine

We live in beautiful, bucolic Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Andy started in Samoyeds as a junior handler in 1974. Together, we have had Otterhounds since 1982. Professionally, Andy is a liaison at The Cleveland Clinic. Jack owns a mobile catering company, primarily catering at dog shows. The dogs consume most of our time but what could be better! We also enjoy traveling and have travelled to East Africa, Costa Rica, and the UK as well as nearly every state in the US.

Andrea (Andy) and Jack McIlwaine, together with their son, Jason, are among the most accomplished Otterhound breeders worldwide. They have been breeding top winning Otterhounds for over 30 year and have produced over 75 AKC champions as well as some top performance and SAR dogs. They have devoted their lives to Otterhounds. Andy’s mother, Nancy Dorian, gave them their first Otterhound, Ch. Chaucer’s Sunflower in 1982. In 1985, Jack and Andy imported a dog from England, Ch. Boravin Quarryman. These dogs were the foundation of Aberdeen Otterhounds.

In 2013, Jack and Andy successfully campaigned four dogs: Otterhound: GCh. Aberdeen’s Under the Influence (DUI), Boston Terrier: GCh. Gunther’s Gussied Up Edna (Edna), Black and Tan Coonhound: GCh. Foxfire’s Full Force Gale (Molly) and Rottweiler: GCh. Avatar Cosmac Storm (Mac) All are multi BIS and National Specialty winners.

Otterhounds are the clowns of hounds. Originally, they were developed to hunt otters—not much call for that today. Otterhounds are amiable, boisterous, and sociable. They are a true scent hound and are driven by their extraordinary sense of smell. Once the nose is turned on, the ears are turned off. A fenced yard is an absolute necessity. They remain one of the rarest of all AKC breeds, with only about 800 in existence world-wide.

Otterhounds were bred as pack dogs, and thus, do best with the company of another dog. Young hounds have quite a bit of energy and do best when they can receive daily exercise and activities. Many excel in tracking, agility, and even as service dogs but they do require a lot of consistent training.

For the most part, Otterhounds are doing quite well despite their small population. They’re a very hardy breed with relatively few genetic issues. We have had several BIS and group winning Otterhounds, and are often in the top 20 hounds. Personally, our greatest concern is the recent move to breed for numbers—the number of Otterhounds haven’t changed much since we started in the early 80s. We’re greatly concerned that we’re noticing a loss of breed type.

As mentioned before, we’re losing type. For most of our time in the breed, there were only a very small handful of breeders, and most of the hounds exuded breed type with two to three different styles. Today, we see many fine-boned dogs, with no depth of chest, small feet, and flat ears; ears and feet are hallmarks of our breed. Size has also changed. Our standard states males 27", females 24"— it’s not uncommon to see a 3' dog in the ring today. For several years, we noticed poor tail sets, but this seems to be improving. Bites have greatly improved. Grooming has greatly improved.For the most part, we’re no longer known as “Odor hounds” most of the Otterhounds are presented clean and well-groomed.

Any shift in the balance of popularity among breeds: fortunately, we have more people interested in our wonderful breed. but they’re not for everyone- they tend to be very stubborn and conveniently hard of hearing. They’re beard and large feet gathers a lot of debris. While they generally don’t drool, they tend to drink from the bottom of the water bucket and love to share their wet faces. They have a knack of finding mud wherever they go.

Finding good homes is still a challenge. Because of the “rarity” of our breed, I have seen some new “breeders” charging obscene prices for puppies. This will only limit the number of people that can afford a purposefully bred Otterhound and invite those that may see our dogs as a way to make a quick buck as many of the “trendy” breeds have discovered.

I hope that we continue to see Otterhounds taken seriously at shows. As stated earlier, most of the Otterhounds at shows today are well groomed. Again, our greatest fear is that new breeders will produce more puppies than there are available homes.

The biggest pitfall for new judges: most Otterhound breeders encourage their puppy buyers to be active within the Otterhound Club of America. Judges need to be patient with exhibitors and Otterhounds, as most have never stepped foot in a show ring. Even seasoned show dogs are not always cooperative in the ring. We often equate stacking an Otterhound to a bowl of Jello—they won’t hold position for long.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? Yes! It’s hard to compete with the beautiful flowing coat of an Afghan or the exquisite curves of a Whippet, or the athleticism of Rhodesian Ridgeback. Otterhounds are the clowns of hounds and, even the most well-groomed, looks like they had maybe one too many at the bar the night before.

Showing Otterhounds is always a humorous experience. They don’t take life seriously. One of our most memorable experiences was at a National specialty. During the Specials class, ring hospitality brought in a tray of cookies for all of the exhibitors. Our dog jumped up and grabbed the entire tray without dropping a 
single cookie.

 

Kathi Molloy

My husband Bob and I got our first Norwegian Elkhound a year after we married, which is almost 30 years ago. We just sold our retail condo last Fall and are now tackling home improvement projects:painting, floors and all that cosmetic work that you don’t have time for when running a business full time.

Norwegian Elkhounds are natural hunters, bred to track and hold big game, such as moose, at bay by barking and darting back and forth until the hunter arrives.

(True story, one of my bitches treed a big black bear when hiking with her owner in New Hampshire. Then the owner put her back on lead and left quickly as possible!)

They are also good at herding and make great guardian watchdogs for the house. Elkhounds have wonderful temperaments and get along with kids and people in general. They are friendly, happy intelligent dogs who love to spend time with their humans. They get along with other animals, but like people can have preferences and early socialization is helpful.

Elkhounds are one of the oldest dog breeds and have not really changed a lot over the years. They have a double coat; in the cold weather the double coat keeps them incredibly warm and in the summer it protects them from overheating. They love the snow and are happy outside in the cold and traipsing through the snow. Their harsh outer coat is so weather resistant it literally allows them to shake off rain water (or their bath) and be dry incredibly fast. They are an athletic dog that needs exercise to stay fit and happy. They ideally need a fenced in yard. Because they are bred to bark for hours at a time when keeping game at bay they may not make the neighbors happy and owners need to be aware of that. They also shed regularly and twice a year shed a lot. They need regular brushing and you need a good vacuum to keep up. For many of these reasons they may not make the best condo dogs. Overall Elkhounds are a joy to live with but not a breed for everybody.

I think our overall quality is good. There is no perfect dog but always a work in progress. Because our breed numbers are down and we are a low entry breed, it really is important for breeders to work together and recognize that the future of our breed depends on it.

I think breeders have worked hard to make sure the dog is square and short coupled. I think when we started in the breed there were quite a few dogs that were “long and low”. That silhouette has improved.

I think all purebred/purpose bred breeders face the challenge of “adopt not shop” mentality and we are finally starting to push back and get our word out that Breeders are not the “bad guys”. This is a huge challenge. Also much proposed legislation around breeding and lumping small hobby breeders with commercial breeders is game changing and problematic for the typical small breeder.

The biggest pitfall for new judges: well the ears are supposed to be erect but Elkhounds put their ears back as a sign of relaxation or affection. What this means in the Show ring as they are not always up for the exam. Our standard calls this out but often new judges may not realize it.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? Yes, and Elkhounds are not seen as a glamour breed. We don’t have long, flowy fur, we aren’t speedy and fast, and we don’t look like any other breed in the Hound group. An Elkhound is a medium grey dog, which is moderate in every way. So for example, moderate broad chest and not over angulated in the rear, even though that style front or back may look striking in the show ring. We as a breed have not won a BIS for years but there’s always hope that a good one could!

 

Lori Norman

I live in Bonita Springs Florida now, where I can enjoy fishing and golf year-round, but started in Miami as a third generation “dog person.” My grandfather had a huge boarding kennel, and racing Greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds back in the 50s and 60s. I grew up with dogs. It was he who took me to my first dog show. I was about seven years old and showed (and I use the term loosely) an Italian Greyhound. He and my mom (Carol Norman) also had some Salukis. In the early 60s a gentleman approached my mom regarding permanent boarding for his Beagles. He had recently had a kennel fire and only a handful survived. He did not want to rebuild. We kept his dogs and I became addicted to the breed from that moment on. When I went to shows with my mom, I would take his dogs with me to show. So, I have been showing Beagles for over 50 years and breeding Beagles since 1970. In compiling information to become a Platinum Breeder of Merit, I discovered, as best we can. I have bred over 170 AKC Champions in that time. I was lucky to have had mentors such as Marcia Foy and Michelle (“Mike”) Leathers Billings as I was growing up in the breed.

What draws me to Beagles, is their “all-terrain” durability and the humor of watching them forever try to find ways to not do what they are told. Having started in Obedience with Beagles (and Salukis) gives me the sense of humor to appreciate their antics, and the enjoyment of the mental battle to stay one step ahead of them. Don’t ever confuse that with being stupid—they know exactly what you want, they just don’t want to do it in the moment. They are merry little hounds, loving every moment of what life gives them.

They should give the appearance of an English Foxhound, in miniature, built for the pursuit of rabbits. There are two Varieties in the United States, 13" and Under, and 13" to 15". The two varieties have different strengths in the field. They can go places the other can’t, or can’t go as effectively. There should be no difference in the construction of the varieties, only height differences at the point of the shoulder. They should be sturdy dogs build for endurance, longevity, and efficiency. As such, emphasis should be on the running gear, the ability to hold up through the hunt, be able to do the job for many years, and be efficient in how they use themselves. This is not a head breed.

Beagles have a purpose as a hunting dog. The show and field Beagles are very different dogs. Hunters care about the endurance, longevity, and efficiency, and they are the characteristics they seek when evaluating a breeding. This is normally achieved in a much more moderate dog than we see in the show ring.

The current overall quality of the breed, right now, is good in some ways, and not good in others. Our front assemblies need much improvement. Our upper arms are the biggest issue—both in length and in angle. There are lots of short rib cages which are commonly mistaken for “short bodied”. The trend right now is for exhibitors to outrun each other. Just because a dog can go fast does not mean he has proper reach and drive, nor does it mean he has endurance, longevity, or efficiency. One thing I learned from watching Italian Greyhounds and Greyhounds run, the IGs will outrun the Greyhound in a sprint, but after that, the Greyhound clearly lasts longer. The chase, for a Beagle is long. The career for a Beagle is long. When in the field, a Beagle must have the ability to expand his lungs for air, and have clearance underneath to move properly.

When Beagles began appearing in the conformation ring, they had a look more associated with today’s field dogs. They were not as heavy in bone, slighter in head, tails curling over the back, horrible feet and toplines, and long-bodied. What they did have was better shoulders/upper arms. We started losing the shoulder/upper arm when somewhere along the way, breeders/judges started rewarding it by thinking it was creating “a nice short-backed” dog. The Beagle should appear longer than square. The only way a short dog gets clearance underneath for the foot-fall, is by being straight at both ends— in which case he won’t last. Generally, in the past, rib cages were longer and well-sprung. Now, with the lack of front angles and length, the rib cage has become shorter. We have engineered a breed that has trouble doing what it was bred to do.

The popularity of the Beagle remains high, as companion dogs. Unfortunately, very few are well-bred. As hard as we try to educate people, there is still a back-yard-breeder on every corner selling Beagles much cheaper.

The challenge in the face of this competition is to educate about health-testing, and post-sale breeder support, without alienating the buyers. Happily, I have noticed a shift in how people approach buying a purebred dog in the past few years. They seem to be learning.

In the “Olden Days” breeders/Exhibitors rarely exchanged health information, let alone sharing breeding plans. There was no network to tap into. Everyone was on their own. With the sharing of information has come a better realization of what we must do, as guardians of the breed, to preserve the origins, spirit, and intent of Beagles. Breeder Education is possible, in so many ways, to help those now just beginning to breed. What limits us now is our lack of understanding about pedigrees and how it relates to breeding decisions. We have become too dependent on the “Popular Sire”, fads, and on photos (many of which are edited). We need to recognize that pedigrees show us the real gene pool—not just one dog.

For judges entering the Beagle ring for the first time, remember that going fast does not mean going correctly. Angles are the body’s shock absorbers. They absorb the strike, they allow the arm and legs to reach without interference from the body. In balance, they propel the motion with a minimum of energy, out of balance they drain energy from having to compensate. Don’t be fooled by thinking straight angles and short rib cages equal a “nice short-backed” dog. Look for a Hound, not a terrier. A 13" Beagle is still a Hound and should look like one. Look for breed type: soft pleading expression, a good coat to protect their body, conformation that will generate proper movement. Don’t think that because movement is not addressed in the Beagle Standard it is unimportant. It is tremendously important in a field breed. The Standard was written with the understanding that if a dog was put together correctly, the movement would follow. How the dog is put together, and uses himself, determines the endurance, longevity, and efficiency in the field.

For so long, people have avoided using Beagles as Performance dogs. That trend seems to be reversing as more and more people find that Obedience and Agility are more fun without push-button dogs. To be able laugh is required. They are naturals at Tracking, Nose Work, Barn Hunt, Coursing Ability and Fast CAT. The days where people thought Beagles were stupid have long ago passed. Beagles know what you want in two seconds and then spend the rest of their lives trying to figure out a way to avoid doing it.

 

Susan Souza

I live in Santa Rosa, California and have 36 years in dogs. Outside of dogs, I’m a licensing insurance professional and enjoy anything that gets me to the beach as often as possible and wine tasting.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a multi-sensory, multi-purpose hound used as a rabbit hunter in Portugal. A breed equally skilled as a vermin exterminator. A breed that is quick to react to its quarry with tremendous skill and confidence. I find the breed to be quite happy to do any job asked of them. The breed is becoming more popular each year with many of the current breeders having had come from other breeds. Including myself.

While all breeds are bred for a purpose, whether that be hunting, herding or guarding. I also believe all dogs were bred as a companion to humans and as such the transition would be quite natural for most. My breed especially. They adapt very well to apartment/condo living as well as the wide open spaces. I find them to be especially happy house dogs.

While there is always room for improvement, I believe the US breeders are doing a fabulous job moving the breed forward and eliminating certain faults within their breeding programs.

Changes I’ve seen during my time involved in the breed: as a relatively new breed (approved to the hound group in 2013) I have not seen any major changes.

Any shift in the balance of popularity among breeds: yes, as I mentioned before, several of the breeders of the PPP come from other breeds and may still be involved in those other breeds. A shift in popularity is inevitable as club members age or move on to other breeds, judging, or just simply retirement.

The breeding and owning of multiple dogs within a household is always a challenge, especially in an urban setting. Hobby breeders are always under attack by rescue and animal rights groups and associations. I have always had the mind frame of breeding because I enjoy the breed and want to share that with others. It is quite a bit more expensive then is was 30 years ago.

Trends I see that I hope continue: the continuation of breeders getting health testing completed on their breeding stock before breeding. Recognition of the Owner Handler.

Biggest pitfall awaiting new judges: well I have to admit the process looks quite cumbersome on paper and it is very expensive to become a judge. Most clubs can’t afford to or won’t pay travel expenses for provisional judges, so that entire cost is absorbed by the individual. So if you don’t want all of your assignments to be local you have to be able to cover the expense on your own. The bright side is that you do get to travel and see the beautiful dogs all over the country.

Some breeds do provide a picture of glamour and they may have an advantage over some other breeds. I believe an outstanding specimen in another breed has just as much of a chance to place in the group and Best in Show. Judges are looking for the dogs that stand out and have showmanship.

Please, please, take the time to mentoring of new exhibitors and breeders. We won’t be around forever and will need to leave our beloved breeds in capable hands.

Funniest thing at a dog show: a dog got loose from its handler and went back to its crate outside of the ring. The dog was 
apparently done.

 

Kitty Steidel

I live in Scottsdale Arizona; moved here in ’84 from Pennsylvania. My 51st year in the sport.

Other than dogs; I do little. I am either writing, judging, organizing/giving material/programs for JEC’s especially pbgv’s and gbgv’s. My husband and I manage to travel often, sometimes dog related, often not.

Originally I bred Bassets; then PBGV’s and I would love to breed/raise Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen but I will continue to be supportive with others with this breed.

These three breeds all hunt by scent, PB and Basset: hare and rabbit; the GB: wild boar originally but now rabbit/hare. All three breeds need the wherewithal to traverse difficult terrain for long hours so all need that structure for endurance. All three are charming and amusing, and very lovable but all three can be a bit stubborn. The Basset is way more laid back than the PB or GB, next would be the Grand who is more laid back than the PBGV. Finally, the PB is Not laid back-ever busy and can be vocal. All seem to be popular as pets.

All have adapted well to air conditioning and the easier life. Yet the three breeds are actively hunting with and without the blessing of the Parent Clubs as well as doing all the performance activities under AKC rules and regs.

I believe the quality of the three breeds is high in some areas, but with AKC inviting everyone to do all things AKC, there is also lack of quality everywhere. However, the cream rises and we also have some fine quality.

I believe the Bassets have improved in structure and thus movement over the last 25 years. We have no worry with heads, good toplines—suggestive of better balance though we surely need better angles and fronts especially. Also, the Bassets are overcoming the clown reputation and gaining new respect on merit.

PBGV’s have also improved from the importation days in the late 80s and 90s. We went from very large dogs with poor ribbing wherein the front assembly seemed almost unattached to the body to smooth parts’ fitting bodies where all vital organs are protected. We have gone from too large to too small to rather in standard 
size today.

Any shift in popularity among breeds: if this question refers to all hounds, I do think the smaller breeds, being easier to keep and maintain are being selected. The Whippet, the Dachshund and Podengo Pequeno are more popular. Of the larger, Ridgebacks have both numbers and quality. If referring to the three breeds I know best, Basset has always been popular, show and pet; the PBGV especially popular as a pet, and The GBGV is gaining popularity perhaps too fast. I hope not.

Challenges as a breeder: I no longer have litters on premises but I will speak for the many breeders who feel both economic and social pressures. It is so expensive to breed good dogs from the testing to the whelping to running on those one wants to watch a while. They are restricted by where they can live financially but also by local restrictions on number of dogs. Socially we have the anti-pure-bred organizations that have money behind them. We have the adopt not shop groups who appeal to public emotions and make people feel good by adopting often someone else’s problem or dogs brought in from other countries to shelters to keep shelters alive.

Our society seems to want anything new or different and even boast of how much they paid for designer dogs. We breeders educate one at a time where some of our adversaries reach large audiences with money for ads and mass media promotions.

Trends: there are many more programs that teach people how to care for their dogs, their health and need for activity. People seem to research before taking in a dog. AKC has the search mechanism online to fit a breed to one’s lifestyle. This is good. Not good is the over-grooming of dogs so prevalent today. We are not judging the artistry of the handler. I’d also like to see showing continute: I love the NOH classes.

In addition, there are too many shows making wins not as significant and diluting entries Hoping to not continue: the bashing of one another on Facebook and social media. The bashing is nasty but also fuel for anti-pure-bred enthusiasts. Stop it.

Biggest pitfall of new judges: thinking a seminar or two or sitting ringside with a mentor will prepare one for judging. This sometimes means going into the ring with some of the minutia in mind but not able to evaluate the overall outline and how all fits and blends. It’s the forest not the trees.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? Glamor breeds affect group and BIS choices but so do affections for certain breeds. There seems to be default breeds as well. Well, the ________ wins a lot. And, of course, the magazine promotions.

I’d also like to share: if it’s not fun, don’t do it.

Funniest thing at a dog show: many funny instances but the most fun person to be with at a show is Bobby Hutton!

 

Sherrill Snyder

I live in Garden Grove, California. I got my first AKC registered purebred Longhaired Dachshund in 1962. I am a retired paralegal, trial secretary. I have lived in Southern California all my life and the fun in the sun suits me. I lived in Malibu for 30 years and live in Orange County now.

One of the distinguishing features of the Dachshund and a very important component of breed type is the structure of the Dachshund front. Dachshunds come in three coat varieties (Longhair, Smooth, and Wirehair) and two sizes (standard and miniature). One must always remember that the Dachshund was designed and bred to hunt badgers. In my experience they are great companions, have an outgoing temperament and want to be wherever you are. Dachshunds were once very popular and have remained in the top ten breeds.

First and foremost, the Dachshund is a hunting dog. His unique body type was developed specifically to hunt badgers underground. The Dachshund’s strong hunting instincts make him an excellent trailing dog as well. Thus, they should always exhibit the structure and temperament traits that are necessary for him to perform effectively below as well as above ground. Dachshunds adapt very well to indoor living, love dog beds, your bed and any sofa available.

Today, in my opinion the front (hallmark of the breed) is not as correct as it has been in the past. Dachshunds have two sizes and the miniature has a weight restriction which read 11 lbs. and under to be eligible for the “open miniature” class. Todays miniatures tend to be heavier and owners/handlers tend to push the envelope. Put them in the correct class—a correctly structured dog that fits the standard will win from any class.

Also, that the front does not appear absolutely straight. The inclined shoulder blades, upper arms, and curved forearms form parentheses that enclose the ribcage, creating the unique “wraparound front.”

Too big in standards which tend to be too tall, too heavy and are not able to function in the performance events. They should not weigh 35 lbs. and above. Dachshunds in the show ring today lack forechest and have straight shoulders. The neck appears to meet the withers at a 90-degree angle instead of the slightly arched neck flowing smoothly into the shoulders. The keel stops abruptly, or just slightly behind the front legs rather than extending well beyond them. Dachshunds who lack proper construction in these areas may present a pleasing profile with a nice level topline. However, their lack of proper construction becomes apparent when they move. The Dachshund Club of America strongly urges all judges to pay particular attention to the fronts of the Dachshunds that they judge. When a correct or nearly correct front is found and all other factors have been considered, it should be highly rewarded.

Biggest challenges are large breeding kennels are disappearing for many reasons, old time breeders have aged out, not enough younger people to take over their programs. Land locked because they are occasional breeders in their home with civil restrictions.

The economics and lack of breed mentors. Dachshunds have (especially miniatures with various color patterns) have backyard breeders advertising and receiving buyers who have the cash but not the knowledge and puppies end up in shelters.

Buy from a reputable breeder, who has the experience, who vets perspective buyers, and in their contracts will take back any animal that didn’t work out.

The biggest pitfall for new judges is not enough knowledge, not enough hands on experience in all sizes and coat varieties.

Dachshunds are sturdy and sound smaller scent hounds and hold their own. Myself, I have had Best in Show Dachshunds in both standard longs, and miniature wires.

 

Cindy Williams

My breeds are Beagles, Dobermans, and Chihuahuas. I’m married with two grown children. A daughter, Angela Ferrari of Allettare Dobermans, and a son who is a Biotechnology Major at UNH.

I live in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire which is a beautiful rural town located an hour northwest of Boston. I’ve been showing and breeding dogs for 17 years now and my line comes down from my first show dog and brood bitch CH Lanbur Lil Mis Honey Pot that I purchased from Jon Woodring of Lanbur Beagles fame. I have bred well over 30 champions with most being finished by myself and my daughter Angela Ferrari. My interests outside of dogs include family, health, fitness, politics, art, reading, some travel and my Church ( Catholic ).

My first and main breed has been the Beagle. Beagles are rugged, medium-sized scenthounds used primarily by hunters to track rabbit. Beagles have a loving and gentle temperament but are very single-minded and determined which makes them independent and proficient trackers.

Show lines in the USA have grown away from the original field/hunting lines as the desire for a more domesticated hound with less prey drive has grown. The goals of show Beagle breeders lean more to gentle temperament and desire to please (trainability) along with the aesthetic qualities that grab the judges attention in the ring. This first goal of a more domestic temperament is achieved through selective breeding and hand-raising in the home. Hand-raised puppies naturally grow accustomed to the sights and sounds of everyday household living. These puppies grow up to become very fond of humans although they still retain enough hunting instinct to be at risk of following a scent if allowed off leash in an open area. Therefore most Beagle breeders require prospective puppy buyers to have fenced backyards and we strongly warn against any off-leash activity in an unsecured area.

House raised Beagles appear to appreciate heat and air conditioning as much as we do. To keep my own hounds from becoming too spoiled and soft I try to make sure they have plenty of outdoor time year-round and I typically take the winter months off from dog shows so my pack can grow thick winter coats and carry a little extra protective weight. Unfortunately, the hunting dogs that are raised outdoors from birth tend to have a harder time adjusting to indoor living. This is why I always recommend the hand-raised show lines to everyone who asks me about Beagles as pets.

At this time I think the Beagle breed in general is for the most part the best it’s ever been. Most breeders put incredible amounts of time and effort into their Beagles and we have more resources at our disposal than ever. Some exciting advances have been made in genetic screening and we are closer than ever to eradicating some horrible illnesses in the breed.

Conformation remains consistently better than average and although no dog is perfect we have a lot of very nice Beagles in the rings today. While we “experts” can pick out faults in our show dogs easily, and especially in the competition, most of the Beagles in the ring today would probably be considered “ the most beautiful Beagle I have ever seen” by the Average Joe on the street. Overall I think movement is still the weakest area in the breed but I can’t say that I know of any breeders that aren’t doing their best to try to improve movement in their stock.

I think the biggest change is that when I started showing very short backs were in fashion and today more rectangular Beagles are being rewarded. I prefer a shorter coupled Beagle myself, ideally with a ratio of 2/3 rib to 1/3 loin.

I’m fairly certain the Beagle has remained #5 in AKC Top Most Popular Breeds for as long as I have been following. I think the combination of medium size, short coat, and their adorable gregarious personality make the Beagle the family favorite it is. What keeps the Beagle from going up the rank is that they can be a little stubborn to housebreak, they do like to hear themselves bark, they need a fenced yard, and they must remain leashed when outside the fence.

The biggest challenge is by far the growing Animal Rights (anti-breeder) movement. The second biggest challenge is finding a modern vet that understands canine reproduction and also enjoys working with breeders.

I hope that the trend towards smarter breeding with the assistance afforded to us by genetic testing will continue and grow.

I would love to see the Animal Rights movement lead by the HSUS stopped.Due to the emotions of the uneducated, the Adopt Don’t Shop and anthropomorphism trends have restricted the growth of breeding and purebred dogs. We see less young people getting into dog sports, and fewer involved in breeding. I really hope the hard work by our community to fight anti-breeder legislation and promote preservation breeders will make progress against the groups trying to shut us down one law at a time.

The biggest pitfall for new judges is peer pressure. Not having the confidence to do your own thing. Trust yourself. Keep learning and judge dogs with no concern about “playing the game.” The preservation of quality in every breed depends on it.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? I am not certain if it does or not. Is there data on such a thing? I don’t think of the Beagle as a “glamour” breed yet from what I have seen Beagles typically get a good piece of the Hound Group wins and BIS’s.

I hope that everyone who loves dogs will start supporting their local dog clubs and become more active in these clubs. Without the clubs, the shows will start fading away until they are *poof* gone. I belong to several dog clubs and it is always the same story, five or ten of us do everything, every year. We are the BOD, the nominating committee’s, the show chairs, we bring the food, etc., It would be great if more people were active in all areas of the dog sports, not only as exhibitors.

The one area that desperately needs more active involvement from everyone who loves breeding, showing, and dog sports of any kind is in your respective State Legislative arena. Purebred dogs are under serious attack from several factions of the Animal Rights agenda. We have a great group of folks here in New Hampshire and we have successfully fought back some tough bills. Every state needs a strong group of active participants willing to learn how to combat these dangerous AR groups. Please go to https://akcgr.org/ to find out how you can be involved. Or if you’re from New Hampshire, please contact the folks at http://nhdogs.org.

One silly thing that made me chuckle at a December show last year was the professional handler who wore a head to toe green Christmas suit, patterned with candy canes and Santa Claus heads. Although we all take showing very seriously people still find ways to show holiday spirit and have fun.

 

Nancy Wright

I grew up on a large wheat ranch in eastern Washington state. My dad and grandfather were avid hunters and I was fascinated by dogs from the time I could remember. It is reported that I said, “doggy”, before I said “Mama”. I have lived all over the world, Europe, Central America and all corners of the US. I was a Licensed FCI Judge and judged many all breed and specialty shows in CA and Europe. Since living back in the states I occupied myself by showing dogs and horses, and riding endurance horses. Professionally I worked on the counseling staff in juvenile detention in Washington state. I taught all breed obedience classes in the Seattle area for almost ten years and ran nearly 12,000 dogs and handlers through my classes. Did I mention, I just love dogs?

I am blessed to live in beautiful North Idaho on an Arabian breeding ranch. I have been showing dogs for over 45 years, since I was a teenager, and am an avid rider and plan to ride my stallion RHR Safar to our century club membership, (that is where the combined ages of the horse and rider equal 100). I also raise sheep and I am a spinner of wool and obsessive knitter and am almost always sitting waiting and for the hound group with a knitting project in hand.

The Cirneco Dell’Etna is a truly ancient hound with coins and mosaics in museums in Sicily and Italy dating back with their name and image over 2,500. years. In other words when Jesus was a small boy, this dog breed was already over 500 years established. This gentle breed has been used for hunting in Sicily and Italy from ancient times to present day. They make exceptionally gentle, sweet natured, biddable hounds with more recall than many sighthounds are noted for. One of the reasons is that in Sicily in order to have a championship title they must earn a hunting title and one of the hunting title requirements is that they be able to be called off of live game. This in no way diminishes their hunting instinct or drive, but rather points to the traits of biddability that has been bred into the bred for millennia.

I think that this breed as many other hounds are also basically seekers of comfort and companionship and snuggling on the couch with other Cirnechi or family members comes naturally to them. However, my dogs living on the ranch are quite active out doors and have huge hay fields to run in and many judges have commented that my dog are extremely fit and firm. Mostly because they are able to stretch out and run regularly. Of course lure coursing is something they excel at. That also keeps them fit. But the tranquil, sweet nature of the Cirneco allows them to adapt to a number of living situations as they are truly obsessed with loving their owners.

One of the frequent comments of the judges when I was first involved with the breed almost 17 years ago was, “How did you get such a high quality dog in such a rare breed?” My reply was to say, “Even though they are rare, they are not new and they have been being bred form to function for a couple of thousand years.”

More people are becoming aware of this elegant and charming breed. Lots of interest about them when I am in the group ring. When showing my #1 male, group winning, GCHB Vito Dell’Ovo CM4, in the group ring, I often had other handlers say things to me like, “I don’t know much about the breed but anybody can see that he is a gorgeous, sound, well put together dog.” I heard much of the same thing when showing my GCHB Rockin’ Heart’s Beat Trix Potter, who was #1 in the breed in 2018.

I think that those purported popularity breeds will always be changing according to people’s perceptions of what they think is beautiful or exciting. But the experienced breeders of any breed are the back bone of their chosen breed and one of their challenges is to keep their breed on a steady path of slow growth. That is always the best plan for long term health in the breed.

I think that of course the challenge in any new, to AKC, breed is to promote healthy, steady, measured interest and growth and to avoid the fast, easy, new, “novelty”, breed growth that can be so devastating to a breed. The other challenge has more to do with societal attitudes about purebred dogs when so much of the popular efforts are directed by the animal rights activist to paint breeders with an ugly brush and to promulgate the, “adopt don’t shop” mentality. We need to constantly work to present our “Pure Bred, Purpose Bred” dogs to their best advantage and the best way to do that is to show them off to their best advantage with a kind, respectful presentation of the dogs to the general public every chance we have to do so.

I like to see families getting involved with purebred dogs and Cirnechi make such dear and gentle family dogs, in families where the children are taught to respect the dogs. In my experience Cirnechi tend to love children quite obsessively. When I talk to my breeder friends in Italy and remark about the kid loving nature of the breed, they answer good naturedly, “Their Italians, all Italians love and adore children.”

The biggest pitfall for new judges is assuming that they are just mini Pharaohs.

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? I think that having owned or bred some of the breed’s firsts, CHs, Group winners etc, that people have been quite surprised at how well received the breed has been in the groups and by judges in general.

I think that having owned or bred some of the breed’s firsts, CHs, Group winners etc, that people have been quite surprised at how well received the breed has been in the groups and by judges in general.

The funniest thing: one of my dear friends, (who shall remain un-named to protect his reputation) ran smack into one of the pillars at the Houston Astro Dome show in the 70s, and sank slowly to the ground like the Road Runner under an anvil dropped off a cliff—whilst his lovely, best in show, Weim bitch continuing around the ring for two more times until he struggled to his feet and snagged her on her third go around.

 

Erika Wyatt

Erika Wyatt is the vice president, AKC delegate and judges education coordinator for the American Sloughi Association. She has been actively involved with the breed since 1995, having presented Sloughis at two Sloughi specialties before she even acquired her first Sloughi under the affix of Ocerico Sloughis. She has imported Sloughis from Morocco, the Czech Republic, Austria and Norway, heavily emphasizing bloodlines from the countries of origin, including Moroccan, Tunisian and Libyan Sloughis. As of this date, she has imported more Sloughis from Morocco than anyone else in the US. She has owned, bred or handled the first AKC Champion Sloughi, the first AKC Grand Champion Sloughi, the first Westminster Best of Breed winning Sloughi, and the first Group 
Placing Sloughis.

We currently live in Illinois, about 60 miles west of Chicago. I have been involved in dogs since 1987 and involved in Sloughis since 1995. Outside of dogs, I am an attorney and my husband is a governmental affairs consultant in the wildlife sector. We are active also in horse, and although I am on a hiatus at the moment, I have competed in USDF Dressage shows since 2003.

The Sloughi developed thousands of years ago in the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria to hunt game of all sizes, from fennecs and hares to gazelles, jackals and wild pigs. It is the sighthound of the Berbers and the Bedouins, and Sloughis also guarded nomadic tents. The Sloughi is extremely loyal and bonded to its family and is typically skeptical of strangers and very aloof, although there are individuals who are more outgoing. Sloughis love to run and cannot be happy with regular opportunities to gallop freely.

The Sloughi is currently the least popular breed in the AKC and remains a rare breed in this country with fewer than 200 in the 
US today.

While I cannot speak for most hounds, Sloughis definitely love and enjoy the comforts of home—soft beds, lots of toys, and plenty of treats. Most Sloughis like to sleep under blankets if they can arrange it. They also appreciate being out of the elements and I would say that they are particularly averse to rain. However, a Sloughi is never happier than when it is in pursuit of something (birds, squirrels, rabbits, blowing leaves, toys, other Sloughis) and having time to run is necessary to their mental and emotional well being. (They also enjoy digging quite a bit!)

There is a small number of Sloughis showing in the US currently. In 2018, there were 34 unique individuals who were shown. While there are many good quality Sloughis in the country, the population needs improvement, particularly in the areas that are essential to a coursing hound. The Sloughi standard states that the breed “has a supple, smooth, and effortless gait with long strides, covering plenty of ground.” There are too many short-strided, hackney-moving Sloughis with weak pasterns and poor moving Sloughis is a very serious fault. The head of the Sloughi is a distinguishing characteristic and one of the traits that sets the breed apart from other sighthounds. Ear carriage and correct bites in the US that need improvement. In addition, there are emerging cases of autoimmune diseases in the Sloughi, mostly in Europe, but protecting the health of the gene pool is necessary to preserve this breed.

There is a lot more interest in the breed, which is wonderful, and there are more people getting out and showing their Sloughis. That, too, is wonderful. Having new people learning about the breed and falling in love with the Sloughi’s unique beauty and sensitive, devoted character will help to preserve the breed in the US into 
the future.

Any particular challenges I face in our current economic/social climate: yes, definitely. For the preservation of this ancient breed, it is imperative that breeders continue to have access to Sloughis in the countries of origin. The best quality and healthiest Sloughis are in North Africa. The importation of rescue dogs of other breeds from foreign countries by groups or individuals that have circumvented or falsified their health papers has resulted in the introduction of diseased dogs landing on US soil from other countries. If it becomes more difficult and expensive to import country of origin Sloughis, American breeders will be less likely to tackle that endeavor, which is already an expensive and risky undertaking. This would be devastating to the US gene pool.

Trends I see that I hope continue? I hope that individuals with excellent representatives of the breed will continue to be active in the Parent Club and in the fancy.

The biggest pitfall for new judges: I would not say that there are pitfalls, but because judging is a subjective task, new judges should take the time to learn about the unique characteristics of the breed. Moderate angulation in a Sloughi is significantly different from moderate angulation in an Afghan hound. The Sloughi’s body proportions are very different from that of the Saluki or the Azawakh. The best place to find lots of information on judging the Sloughi is the American Sloughi Association (National Parent Club) website. There is a lot of information, educational videos, and color photos available on the Judges’ Education page here: https://sloughi-international.com/?page_id=1340

Does the “glamour” breeds versus the breeds with simplicity in make and shape affect their recognition in Group and Best in Show competition? It probably does with some judges, but in my experience showing Sloughis, no. I think that most judges appreciate an excellent quality dog, regardless of the flashiness of the breed.

The funniest thing at a dog show? At a Sloughi specialty that was held outside one year, it was a beautiful, summer day full of sunshine and breeze. A junior handler went to do the down and back in front of a judge, and her Sloughi flopped onto the ground, rolled on his back and looked at her, tail wagging hopefully, for a tummy rub. 

 

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