Interview with Cheryl McDermott, DVM – Breeder of Kr’Msun Cirnechi dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hounds
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
I am currently living in Ethel, Washington, where I have lived for the past 18 years. Dogs have been a huge part of my life since my first year in vet school. I was blessed with a retired Greyhound and she ignited my passion for dogs, and from there I got my first Pharaoh Hound in 1998 and started my journey of showing dogs.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
My kennel name is Kr’Msun. It is a combination of “crimson” and “sun,” which makes for a unique and memorable name. My 10 dogs makes up a sizable pack and I love each and every one of them!
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Multi Group-placing GCHG CH Kr’Msun Juno CM was not only a Gold Grand Champion, but also the first one in her breed. Holding the Number One spot in Breed rankings for two years is no small feat, and it’s a testament to the quality of her breeding and training. As a talented and accomplished Cirneco dell’Etna, that has been a source of pride for myself and my kennel.
My Pharaoh Hound, “Deja,” was a top performer in her breed for several years, which is a testament to her athleticism and training. Not to leave out “Jet,” who was a top performer in Lure Coursing, a sport that requires speed, agility, and endurance. Pharaoh Hounds are a very athletic and versatile breed, so it’s not surprising that they excel in various sports and competitions. I have put a lot of time and effort into my breeding program and training these dogs to be successful in their respective fields.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
In my opinion, I have had a long and successful history of breeding champion dogs. “Juno” being the start of the fourth generation is very exciting, and it’s impressive that “Luna” has already produced many champion offspring in multiple countries.
“Sparky’s” achievements are also impressive, with his multiple Group placings and his offspring achieving their championships. You must have a lot of experience and skill when it comes to breeding and showing dogs, and my dedication to the sport is evident in the success of my kennel.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
I believe in socializing my litters with both adults and children. It’s important for puppies to be exposed to a variety of people and experiences early on in life, as it helps them to become well-adjusted and socialized adult dogs.
The Puppy Culture system is a comprehensive program that focuses on early socialization, enrichment, and training for puppies. Using this system in my breeding program can help to produce confident, well-behaved puppies that are prepared for life in their new homes. I think it is wonderful to involve my daughter, Brenna, in the process, as it can be a great learning experience for children to be involved in caring for and socializing puppies.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
My approach for selecting and grading puppies is: Structure, temperament, and drive are all important qualities that can contribute to a dog’s success in the show ring and in other Performance activities.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Cirnechi dell’Etna are indeed versatile, and their athleticism and intelligence make them well-suited for a variety of activities.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Straight and Oval Track Coursing, as well as Fast CAT and Oval Track Racing, all involve running and speed, which are natural strengths of the Pharaoh Hound.
Rally and Obedience, as well as Herding, Barn Hunt, and Agility, involve more advanced training and skill, which can be challenging but rewarding for both you and your dogs.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Care of the coat, nails, teeth, and exercise are all important aspects of maintaining a healthy and happy Cirnecho dell’Etna. Coat care involves regular grooming and bathing to keep your dog’s coat clean and healthy. The Pharaoh Hound has a short, fine coat that is relatively easy to care for, but they do shed seasonally, so regular brushing can help to reduce shedding and keep their coat looking shiny and healthy.
Nail care is also important for the Cirneco dell’Etna, as overgrown nails can be uncomfortable and even painful for dogs. Regular nail trimming or filing can help to keep your dog’s nails at a healthy length. Dental care is also essential for the overall health of your Cirneco dell’Etna. Regular brushing and dental cleanings can help to prevent dental disease and keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.
Finally, exercise is important for Cirnechi dell’Etna, as they are an active and athletic breed. Regular exercise can help to maintain their physical health and fitness, as well as their mental well-being. This can include activities like running, hiking, playing fetch, or participating in Performance Events like Coursing or Agility. Even if you don’t use your dogs for hunting purposes, it’s important to provide them with opportunities to use their natural instincts and abilities through Performance Events and other activities.
This can help to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, which can contribute to their overall health and well-being. In addition to the performance events mentioned, there are also other activities that can be enjoyable and beneficial for Pharaoh Hounds, such as hiking, swimming, and playing games like fetch or hide-and-seek. As long as the activities are safe and appropriate for the dogs’ age and physical abilities, they can be a great way to bond with the dogs and provide them with enrichment and stimulation.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Currently, the Cirneco has no OFA CHIC program. I do believe strongly in health testing and will check the eyes, heart, patellas, thyroid, and hips, as these are similar with other hounds. In addition to these specific tests, it’s also important to work with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the breed and can provide guidance on other health issues that may be common in Cirnechi dell’Etna. By prioritizing health testing and working closely with your veterinarian, you can help to ensure that your Cirneco dell’Etna is as healthy as possible and able to enjoy a happy and active life with you.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
The Cirneco dell’Etna is still a relatively rare breed in many countries, and there may be only a few preservation breeders working to promote and protect the breed. However, this also means that preservation breeders play an important role in ensuring the continued health and well-being of the breed. By prioritizing health testing, responsible breeding practices, and working to preserve the unique qualities of the breed, breeders can help to ensure that the Cirneco dell’Etna continues to thrive and bring joy to future generations of dog lovers. It’s a great responsibility, but it’s also a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the world of dog breeding and to help protect a valuable piece of canine heritage.
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Yes, both Pharaoh Hounds and Cirnechi are excellent with children and make great family dogs. Their active and intelligent nature also makes them great companions for people who are looking for a breed that can keep up with an active lifestyle. As both breeds are known to be smart and eager to please, they can excel in a variety of activities and training, from Obedience and Agility to Tracking and Hunting. Their alert and protective nature can also make them great watchdogs, helping to keep your home and family safe. Overall, both the Pharaoh Hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna are wonderful breeds that make great family pets for those who are willing to provide them with the love, care, and attention they need to thrive.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
While both the Pharaoh Hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna share some similarities, they are two distinct breeds with their own unique characteristics and qualities. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the Cirneco dell’Etna is simply a smaller version of the Pharaoh Hound or a “baby Pharaoh Hound.” While both breeds are sighthounds and share some physical similarities, the Cirneco has its own unique history and characteristics that set it apart from the Pharaoh Hound.
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
As a hunting breed, it’s important that the Cirneco dell’Etna is judged for both form and function. This means that judges should be looking not just at the physical appearance of the dog, but also its ability to perform the tasks for which it was originally bred. In terms of form, judges should be looking for a well-proportioned dog with a balanced and athletic build. The dog should be structurally sound with good muscle tone and correct movement. The head should be proportionate to the body and the ears should be erect and of moderate size.
Overall, judging for form and function is important in ensuring that the Cirneco dell’Etna remains true to its original purpose as a hunting breed. By recognizing and rewarding dogs that possess both the physical and functional qualities necessary for hunting, judges can help to promote the health and longevity of the breed.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
The Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound breeds have a lot of personality and can be quite entertaining! It’s always important to have a sense of humor and be able to roll with the punches when working with dogs, as they each have their own unique quirks and behaviors. Training and working with dogs can be a lot of work, but it’s also rewarding when you see their personality shine through and they display their unique talents and abilities. I have a deep love for these breeds and enjoy the challenges that come with working with them.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
One time, while doing Obedience with a Pharaoh Hound, she waited until she was off-leash on the long down and gave me a stare, and then looked away and sniffed the ground. She then proceeded to start rolling on her back until I had returned to her side. She knew she couldn’t be corrected in the ring. But then, on other days, she would just stay in place, and on hot days, she would not move when the Golden Retrievers and Shelties left the ring. (One learns to expect the unexpected with these hounds!) The challenges never stop, but I love them.