Afghan Hounds | Stephen Williams: I walked in the show ring for the very first time in February of 2014 at the encouragement of my dog’s breeder. Although we’d attended several conformation classes, I was still very much a newbie, and so was my nine-month-old puppy. But we learned together and grew together. We had support and encouragement from many new friends of all breeds that we met at the dog shows. We achieved his Championship in June of 2016 and his Grand Championship in March of 2017. We had the privilege of winning the AKC Royal Canin National Owner-Handled Series final for Afghan Hounds in 2017 and 2018. We currently hold the AKC Owner-Handled Lifetime Number One Afghan Hound and Number One Afghan Hound for the current year. At eight years of age, he is still being shown and is only a few points shy of being a Silver Grand Champion. We have had so much fun together participating in competitions, and have created such a special bond that it will be sad when retirement rounds the corner.
“My goal is to
1. When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
My first time in the show ring with Cruze was in February of 2014.
2. How many years in dogs? How many as an owner handler?
I have owned six Afghan Hounds over a 30-year period. I have been involved in showing dogs, and an owner handler, for seven years.
3. Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
I have attended multiple handling classes and have attended two seminars.
4. Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
5. Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series?
Are rankings important to you?
Yes, I have competed in NOHS, and yes, rankings are very important and satisfying.
6. In which class(es) are you most likely to enter your dog(s)? Why?
I enter my dogs in Best of Breed and Owner-Handled.
7. Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as an owner handler?
8. Are you intimidated by the professional handlers? By the judges?
No to both.
9. Who have been your mentor(s) as an owner handler?
Greg Strong and Patty Kageals have been my mentors.
10. How important is the owner handler to the future of the dog sport?
Very important; NOHS gives new participants the opportunity for more success.
11. What are your goals as an owner handler? Is there a victory that has eluded you?
My goal is to have achieved AKC Lifetime Number One Afghan Hound.
12. Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as an owner-handler?
As a judge was going over Cruze, my Afghan decided to ransack the judge’s coat pocket, looking for treats. Luckily, the judge found it entertaining.
Stephen Williams Afghan Hounds.