Interview with Hound Group Breeder Gail Morad – Darom Irish Wolfhounds
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Gail Morad: I live in Michigan. I have been with dogs for over 30 years. My daughter participated in Junior Showmanship. I was blessed with an exceptional foundation bitch and, after much research and mentoring, have been breeding for just under 10 years. I breed infrequently and only to support a Wolfhound’s wonderful qualities to perfection. Our breed is so special and needs to be preserved in
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Gail Morad: My kennel is named Darom Irish Wolfhounds. After losing my 12-year-old, I now have seven that live with me. I am always prepared to keep every dog that I breed; not sending them to an unsuitable home. This is my commitment for their lifetime. This obligation can be difficult for those without the financial, space, and psychological means to ensure the health and safety of these gentle giants.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Gail Morad: As a young kennel, and owner-handler, I am proud to have championed all but my youngest female. Darom McDe’s Sweet Sheahan (Shea) earned BOS at the AKC National Championship along with winning OH Top 10 for Wolfhounds. Her brother (Larkin) won BOSOH for Top 10. Darom McDe’s Lord Larkin has been wonderful to show. He also earned BOB at the AKC National, Award of Merit at Westminster, and Stud Dog, Veteran Dog, and Award of Merit at the 2022 IWCA National Specialty. His son, Darom Center Ice Yzerman (Captain), earned BOBOH Top 10 and a Group Third at the AKC National event. Sheahan, Larkin and Captain have all won BOBOH at several shows. They have been influential, and their offspring are also being recognized by judges. The younger Hounds are making us all proud!
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Gail Morad: When you look for who could potentially influence your line, always look to a good bitch. When pursuing success in breeding, there is no substitute for hard work and establishing a line of great females. If your female comes from a line of first-class Hounds, you can’t go wrong. While a good male is important, the female should be the foundation of what you hope to use to better the breed. Larkin and Shea have been influential, and I am proud to have worked with a variety of mentors, including Linda Souza. With her support and the support of other preservation breeders, I have the pedigrees of many exceptional hounds (GCH Cash of Limerick, CH Gnoc Noll of Limerick, CH Nash, CH Miss Marple From the Good Health, CH Wolfhouse Master Copy, GCHG Khaleesi’s Drogon Of The Seven Kingdoms, CH Bainbridge A Day In The Life, and GCH Raven vom Luchemer Bruckchen) within the Darom lines.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Gail Morad: The Darom facility is my home on 18 acres. Breeding is a labor of love, NOT financial gain. All litters are whelped and raised in my home with loving human contact. I use early neurological stimulation exercises and follow Puppy Culture training. A confident, well-socialized Wolfhound is best for any family. My pups stay with me for at least 12 weeks so that they have adequate time with the dam, have tested for liver shunt, and received early vaccinations. They may stay longer if they require more time and/or the new owner needs additional time to learn and ready their new environment.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
Gail Morad: I am always keeping a watchful eye on the pups; movement, temperament, the overall outline, structure, and bone. They change and grow at different times. While the watch begins at 3 to 4 weeks, a more critical eye occurs at 8 to 9 weeks. Since the pups are with me until 12 or more weeks, no final decisions are made until the end. This includes all decisions as to the right fit for allpotential families. Any of my pups come back to me if situations change in the placement.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
Gail Morad: Socialization is key, and a well-adjusted Wolfhound that is comfortable with people putting their hands on him will not mind the gentle handling of a judge. I make it a routine to put hands on my pups and dogs. Knowing your Breed Standard—and working on stacking to demonstrate that Standard—is important. I love the gait of a good Wolfhound, and finding the right speed for your dog is also important. All of this takes positive practice. My Hounds will work in the ring to try and please me, but it should be fun for them as well.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
Gail Morad: The presentation of the Irish Wolfhound dog breed follows the Standard of Excellence: great size and commanding appearance, easy and active movement, long and level head, heavily boned legs with elbows well-set under, long and muscular thighs, and second thighs with stifles nicely bent. I just returned from the IWCA National Specialty and was proud to observe excellent Wolfhounds presented in the ring. The long, strong, muscular neck was presented well-arched but not held too high when moving. Coats were rough and well-maintained. (There was a wonderful grooming clinic offered at the Specialty.) The breed’s coat needs to be kept up and rolled often, not just groomed the day before a show. You should see power and strength; in essence, they should be able to do what they were bred to do.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Gail Morad: We are lucky to have the Irish Wolfhound Health Foundation which helps to identify health problems affecting our breed. They also initiate, support, and provide funding for research projects that address and study these health problems. Health testing is important for all Irish Wolfhound dogs, not just those within a breeding program. The IWCA recommends screening for congenital eye and heart disease, and hip and elbow dysplasia. While the Wolfhound is not the longest-living breed of dog, knowledge and alertness as to what is normal behavior remains important. Wolfhounds are stoic and are often slow to complain about sickness or pain. Serious health issues include osteosarcoma, heart disease, GVD, pneumonia, and liver shunt.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
Gail Morad: In my opinion, the breed is in good condition overall. While those who desire owning an Irish Wolfhound dog can be impatient (as the wait can be long), breeders are sharing health and nutritional knowledge, and more and more preservation breeders are mentoring those of us who are less experienced but wanting to learn. Social Media makes it easier to list puppies for sale, but the Irish Wolfhound Club of America is stepping up as the best resource to find reputable breeders and share accurate knowledge.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Gail Morad: Irish Wolfhound dogs are extremely loving companions whose gentle nature and sweet temperament make them a great family dog. They are good with children as well as other pets, if socialized from a young age. They love to snuggle and may stretch out across your feet or along the couch, so be prepared to share your space. The best candidate to own an Irish Wolfhound is someone who can provide a sufficiently fenced property. They do require room for exercise—and a fenced yard is best. It is not necessary to treat a Wolfhound harshly or separate them from members of the family. The best homes give the Wolfhound lots of loving attention.
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Gail Morad: There are wonderful, committed preservation breeders who support the care and continuation of quality Irish Wolfhound dogs. Many attend national events and most are open to questions and dialog.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Gail Morad: My first Wolfhound loved Agility. Since then, I have trained several in Obedience, Agility, and Therapy Work. My first Agility dog was running a jump line right toward an instructor when her Corgi began to get nervous as he came closer. He completed the jump line, pranced to where the instructor was seated, kissed the Corgi, and sat in the instructor’s lap as if to say, “How did I do?” All applauded and cheered. (Oh, and there was the time he stole a filet off the counter!)