From the December 2018 Issue of ShowSight. Pictured clockwise from top left, some of our participants – Gretchen Bernardi, Jay Hyman, Theresa Lyons, Julie Mueller, Judith Brown, Karin Ashe. From the December 2018 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe.
MEET THE EXPERTS:
Karin Ashe, Judge
Zoe Bolin, Breeder : I live in Southern California, just north of Los Angeles. I have owned dogs all of my life but got my first show dog in 2006. I have recently retired from LAPD, working as a 911 operator for 22 years.
Judith Brown, Judge
Julie Buss, Breeder
Nancy Faville, Breeder: My husband Charlie Storke and I live in Pleasanton, California. I have had a variety of pure bred dogs through out 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 once I catch up with life, I will be looking to move our household to Nevada.
Jay Hyman, Breeder: I attended schools in the metropolitan area of Washington D.C, until college. I attended the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, majoring in real estate, finance, and appraising receiving a B.S. in Economics. After college, I attended Harvard Law School majoring in Finance and receiving a J.D.
While practicing law I became active in breeding, showing dogs and was a member of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States (holding all offices including President and Delegate to the American Kennel Club), the American Whippet Association (holding the office of Delegate to the American Kennel Club), National Capitol Kennel Club, Potomac Hound Association. I wrote and had published a number of articles on judging Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the Ridgebacks as a Sigh , Legal Aspects of Contracts relating to dogs, and various other articles relating to raising, breeding and
Since becoming a judge under the auspices of the American Kennel Club, I have been approved to judge all Hounds, including the Hound Group all Herding breeds, the Herding Group, Best In Show and some of the Terrier Group.
As an attorney, more recently I have specialized in dog related matters primarily in disputes among co-owners, co-breeders, defamation actions involving dog owners or judges, ownership disputes (Replevin and Detinue), veterinary mal-practice, preparation and interpretation of dog type contracts, matters relating to the American Kennel Club and/or various kennel clubs. These activities have resulted in two published opinions.
I continue to be active in the breeding, and exhibiting of Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Theresa Lyons, Breeder: Theresa M. Lyons has been involved in the sport of dogs since 1990. She has bred, shown and championed multiple Rhodesian Ridgebacks and is currently co-breeding, owning and showing, with Marueen Tauber, under the Lyonnese prefix. She competes in conformation, coursing, dock diving and will soon be in the agility, obedience and nosework rings with her champion Pointer and Ridgeback puppy.
A professional graphic artist and talented dog photographer, Theresa founded the award-winning Ridgeback Register magazine in 1995, and made it synonymous with eye-catching design, stunning photography and quality journalism. She published her final issue in 2018 in an effort to pursue judging status.
Theresa is also the Art Director for Sighthound Review, Editor and Art Director for Pointer Points and a freelance canine photographer and graphic designer.
A proud third generation U.S. Marine, Theresa is a member of many organizations, including the Western Hound Association of Southern California, Princeton Dog Training Club, Plainfield Kennel Club, American Pointer Club and is a member and current Board of Director for the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States.
Kathi Molloy, Breeder: My husband Bob and I live in the suburbs just north of Boston. We started out in Norwegian Elkhounds over 25 years ago with our first puppy who we bought from a breeder. We fell in love with the pup, the breed and dog shows all that first year. Fortunately we met good breeders and many mentors along the way to help us keep improving each generation.
Julie Mueller, Breeder: I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma when I was 20. My mother, Arlene, started Aurora Kennel, and we bred and showed Poodles, all three varieties. I met Eugene Blake and he is the reason I moved to Tulsa and why I have Salukis. I was in a near fatal car accident when I was 19 and while I was recovering back in Wisconsin, Gene bought “Karim” as a gift for me. “Karim” Am. and Can. Ch. KarimZahab Al Bokay, defeated more dogs in his career than any other Salukis ever shown in the USA, defeating over 90,000 dogs. His list of accomplishments as a show dog and a producer are incredible. Aurora then became our kennel name for our Salukis and everything we have is because of “Karim”. I am a professional dog groomer, for over 50 years now. Aurora Kennel in Oshkosh, is still owned and operated by my mother. I purchased an acre of land in Tulsa 28 years ago and opened Aurora Kennel Tulsa. The local business paper did a story on me when I opened the kennel and the headline read “Woman Opens Business” if that tells you anything about the social climate, at that time, in the South. My one hobby is photography and I also do Therapy Dog with our Salukis.
Erin Olsen, Breeder: I have been in the Elkhounds since 2001, but was raised with Dobermans and Shelties. We had a 100 dog boarding/grooming/training kennel in Goodrich, Michigan. I started dating my now husband Keith in 2001 and he introduced me to the wonderful Elkhounds. I have also bred and shown Cutting horses at some of the biggest shows in the country including QH Congress and NCHA Eastern National Championships. We have been very fortunate to have been breeder/owner/handlers of some top Elkhounds in the Country including the 2015 NEAA Top
Erika Wyatt, Breeder: We live in a rural area on a 12 acre property about an hour west of Chicago. I have been involved in dogs for 33 years and I have been involved in Sloughis for 23 of those years. Outside of dogs, I am a practicing attorney and I am a lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School, my alma mater. I am an avid equestrian, active in dressage. I am also an amateur photographer, a writer and I love cooking (for humans and for Sloughis).
Erika N. Wyatt is the Vice President, Judges’ Education Coordinator and AKC Delegate for the American Sloughi Association (ASLA), the AKC National Parent Club for the breed. She is also a parent club approved presenter and mentor in the breed and the Editor in Chief of the ASLA Times, official publication of ASLA.
Wyatt has been involved with Sloughis since 1995 and stepped into the show ring with a Sloughi for the first time in Ontario, Canada in 1998. Since then she has shown Sloughis in conformation with the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club and the American Rare Breed Association. She owner-handled the first AKC Champion, Grand Champion and Westminster Best of Breed winning Sloughis, and she bred the first AKC Certificate of Merit (CM) and CM2 Sloughi. Wyatt has bred or owned eight of the eleven AKC Champions in the breed as of the date of this writing and has imported more Sloughis from Morocco than anyone else in the US.
Michael Canalizo, Judge: Michael Canalizo has spent many years in the dog show world as a Breeder/Owner and Professional Handler turned Judge. His first exposure to the Afghan Hound came in 1961 with his family’s purchase of Babu Bamn of Grandeur that was a few generations off of foundation stock in the breed. He was the Breeder/Owner/Handler of the Top Winning Hound of All Time with 87 BIS wins until a daughter of his dog that he showed beat that record with 161 BIS. He has won two Top Owner Handler Awards and six Quaker Oats Awards with CH’s Triumph and Tryst of Grandeur. Tryst would be the Top Dog of All Breeds in 1995. Collectively he piloted over 100 Afghan Hounds to their Championships and had over 300 All-Breed Best in shows and nearly 1,000 Hound
He is currently approved to judge BIS, all Hound breeds, all Toy breeds, all Herding Breeds and several breeds in the Sporting, Working and Non-Sporting Groups. Michael is a member of the Afghan Hound Club of America, Westbury Kennel Association and the Morris and Essex Kennel Club. Michael Canalizo’s credentials include developing and presenting dog-related educational seminars worldwide, feature writing and working as a contributing editor for numerous national and international publications. He has officiated at events in 28 countries to date. Michael joined the American Kennel Club as an Executive Field Representative in 2005 and held the position as Director of AKC Event Management until very recently.
Gretchen Bernardi, judge: I acquired my first Irish Wolfhound in 1969 and bred my first Berwyck litter in 1977. Our hounds have won the national specialty, several regional specialtiesand high honors at the specialty and all-breed levels—mostly owner-handled. More important to me personally, are the number of dogs gaining high honors at our specialties that carry Berwyck dogs close up in their pedigrees. In the early 1970s. I helped establish the St. Louis Sighthound Association, founded at a time when group clubs and Sighthound coursing were regarded as exotic pastimes.
I am currently approved to judge 12 breeds and have judges several specialties both here and abroad. I have the great honor of being one of only three living people to have judged our national specialty twice. In 2011, I was named Hound Breeder of the Year by the AKC.
In the last 48 years, I have been involved with all-breed clubs, Sighthound clubs, humane organizations and wildlife preservation organizations and this year will mark my 30th year as a delegate to the American Kennel Club. Additionally, I have been an officer of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America, serving as editor of Harp & Hound. I authored, “Longevity and Morbidity in the Irish Wolfhound in the United States—1966 to 1986,” which has been translated into
In the years that I have lived with Irish Wolfhounds, I have tried hard to keep two principles foremost in my mind: first, to leave this wonderful breed in at least as good a shape as I found it. Second, to always give credit to the great breeders who came before me and whose dogs live on in our
HOUND GROUP Q & A
1. Describe your breed in three words.
JBu: Loyal, intelligent and eager to please.
TL: Intelligent, upstanding and loyal.
KM: Norwegian Elkhounds are bold, intelligent hunters.
EO: Devoted, bold and protector.
EW: Power, elegance and devotion.
2. How does your breed rank in popularity
JBu: I think they are a very desirable breed, people are very qurious about their history.
TL: Each year the AKC produces a list of the most popular breeds. The Rhodesian Ridgeback has consistently been listed around #40 for all breeds and the #4 Hound. Most often the more popular Hound breeds are more suitable for apartment living. The Ridgeback is not a breed for everyone and not everyone is worthy of owning one.
KM: Elkhounds rank #9 out of the Hounds Group in popularity. They are #91 overall in popularity for all breeds.
EO: I would say close to the middle.
EW: The Sloughi is still quite rare in the United States, having only achieved full AKC recognition on January
3. Does your breed get its fair share of attention in the Group? Why or why not?
JBu: I think they get overlooked a lot in groups, I think because of lack of education about the breed.
TL: Statistically speaking, in the last decade, the Ridgeback has declined in appearance in Top Twenty Hounds: 2008-2009 there were three Ridgebacks in the top ten; only one in 2010, none in 2011 and from 2013-2017 there has only been one making the ranks. To date, there are none for 2018. Since 1957 there have only been 64 Ridgebacks awarded Best in Show. I believe the Ridgeback is too often overlooked in the group and BIS ring. I can only speculate that maybe they do not appeal to the judge looking for that flash or cuteness factor.
KM: Elkhounds do get a fair share of the attention as they have their own unique look within the Hound Group. They are a beautiful gray dog, with a thick double coat and a curly tail.
However they are not the flashy movers like Afghans, Whippets, Salukis or as cute as Beagles, Dachshunds
EO: Yes, we have had some great dogs out in the last several years and have been recognized well. Best in show ring is a different story.
EW: Most Hound Group judges are interested in and eager to know the breed better. However, since the Sloughi is such a newcomer to the AKC Hound Group, many judges have not seen enough of them to give the breed a lot of attention in the Group. As of this writing, only four Sloughis have ever placed in the Group, and so far, no Sloughi has yet won it.
4. If you have to choose between type and soundness, how do you vote?
JBu: Soundness is bred, type is an opinion!
TL: I would have to go with type. Crossbreeds, mutts and purebreds can all have soundness. A quality purebred dog, however, must always have breed type. That is not to say that soundness does not matter. Type and soundness, in fact, overlap. Bred type combined with soundness produces all the parts needed for a breed’s
KM: That’s a tough question as you need both type and soundness. But I would choose type first as that makes a breed a breed, without type you just have a generic dog.
EO: Soundness. Both in the ring and as a family pet if a dog is not sound, no amount of “type” will help ease any pain caused by unsoundness for both the animal and humans.
EW: The Sloughi is a coursing breed. Soundness is one of the most important components of type.
5. What’s the largest health concern facing your
JBu: I don’t think anyone is more than the other, all health testing is very important.
TL: The Ridgeback is a healthy breed with very few major health concerns. According to the OFA, the breed has one of the lowest incidences of hip dysplasia with less than 2.7% dysplastic of the 12,908 tested through 2017. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the U.S. conducted a health study in 2017, which included 2,897 dogs. While most often harmless, lipomas came in with the highest number with 732 reported, followed by 531 for respiratory disease (440 of that number being kennel cough).
KM: I think the largest health concern facing an Elkhound and almost any other breed is cancer. We are prone to other health issues like sebaceous cysts but cancer is a leading cause of death.
EO: The sebaceous cysts and cancers (in all breeds).
EW: The lack of candor among breeders about diseases that may be genetic, such as Addison’s disease and other
6. Any trends you see in your breed that you believe need to continue? Any you’d like to see stopped?
KA: I certainly am pleased to see that people are participating in different activities with their dogs outside of confirmation and hope they do continue to give the dogs that various level of competition to have fun with. What I really would like to see stopped it’s for breeders to think that every single puppy born in the litter is a show quality puppy they need to be objective and during the judges the quality that we want to see I don’t want to see filler dogs just to make points for a dog that they want finished I feel that they should be very careful of who they choose to put into competition.
JBu: I see a few with beauty and grace, perform like they should. Oversized and over weight need to be bred
TL: The last few years, I have seen an improvement in temperaments with more socialized and well-adjusted dogs. This is wonderful for the breed. I would love the trend of kennel clubs using generic judges, lacking in breed knowledge, to stop. Gone are the days when a perspective judge spent time with breeders to learn and understand the nuisances of a breed they were applying for. Instead, it seems to be a race on how many breeds one can get approved in a year.
KM: Trends to continue: when I first started there were more Elkhounds that were “long and low” meaning long loins and short legs. I now see more correct “square” short loined dogs and leggier dogs that can do their job and hunt for hours over rugged terrain. Trends to be careful: we need to watch tail sets. Elkhound tails are a significant part of our breed silhouette. Our tails should be high set and tightly curled over the middle of the back. I still see too many low set tails and loosely curled tails.
EO: The trend of showing oversize animals have got to stop. In Norway oversize can not even be registered or bred. The size is so important for the original purpose of this breed. Too big and a moose can/will kill it. You also lose some of the agility abilities when you get them too tall and off-square. Also in most breeds we are losing good fronts. Too many dogs are so straight in the front, that when one has proper angles, they stand out. Also have to watch temperaments. They have gotten better with people but seeing much more dog aggression in the breed.
EW: We need to continue to see Sloughis with ground covering, effortless gaits, correct, open angulation, sound running gear and a dog that is powerful as well as elegant. Any you’d like to see stopped? There is a trend toward Sloughis becoming excessively refined and elegant and there are many Sloughis who lack the correct reach (from the shoulder) and matching drive. A Sloughi should not have short, choppy gaits that move from the elbow. There is also a trend toward poor ears that are not capable of dropping into the correct position.
7. What can your parent club do to increase awareness and popularity of your breed?
JBu: Become an all people matter group, not just a few.
TL: I personally do not want our breed to become more popular to the public. I prefer we stay out of the “must have” breeds. On the other spectrum, the RRCUS education committee has done a tremendous job the last few years by introducing “Rhodesian Ridgeback Boot Camp.” This day-long seminar, presented around the U.S., is for newcomers, longtime breeders and exhibitors alike. The seminar covers the standard, the elaboration, skeletal anatomy, critiquing of dogs and even a handling lesson.
KM: Good question. I think the NEAA parent Club is trying to improve awareness and popularity of our breed. For example, they work hard to participate in the Royal Canine AKC “Meet the Breeds” in Orlando which many pet owners get to experience. They are also trying to embrace social media with Facebook. More can certainly be done but all of us in the breed have to take responsibility as well and make an individual effort to also promote our breed.
EO: Our parent club is working on revised breed educational boards to be used at large shows to educate the public about our breeds. I think it needs to be more public education about our breed, just not at the large shows. One important thing though if breed clubs don’t start stepping up and educating the general public about ethical breeders, dog events and such we will not have to worry about any of it. It will be legislated away from us one bill at a time and AKC is not being proactive. This needs to be done at the breed club levels and done together, not one club at a time.
EW: Continue to promote specialties in various regions of the country and continue to have an active judges
8. To whom do you owe the most? In other words, which mentor helped you the most as you learned the ropes?
JBu: Mentors we owe gratitude to would be Marie Cotton, and Cindy-Lane Smith. Both have helped establish our line and lessons in the show world with dogs.
TL: Owning a breed publication for 25-years afforded me the opportunity to have a range of mentors along the way. Breeder interviews allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge from so many, both old and new. Performance interviews allowed me to see the breed from a more functional standpoint. National Specialty judge interviews allowed me to view the breed from a different perspective. All of these interviews helped mentor me in some way or the other through the years.
KM: I have so many people to thank for help along the way. But the one who mentored me the most would be Michael Halley. Michael has been involved with Elkhounds about 40 years, he is now a retired professional handler and trainer. He was very generous with his time, always there to encourage and teach with a sense of humor thrown in.
EO: The person that had the biggest impact is my mom. We had a boarding kennel, and even before that, she instilled in me that the animals always come first, no matter if we are sick or busy. Another person that was a big mentor was George Murray. He came to work for my mom back in the late 70s and he taught me so much about care of the “show” dog both at home and on the road, conditioning and just general care of the show dogs. It also influenced the way we took care of all the dogs in our care. At the time we had the top Doberman and to watch the ins and outs (both good and bad) of the sport has taught me how to handle the sport both good and bad and how to be a gracious winner and loser, to keep your head up and learn what to do better for the next time, not bash judges, exhibitors, etc. Never place blame, just figure out what to do better next time.
EW: Ermine Moreau-Sipiere, the founder of the AKC National Parent Club (the American Sloughi Assocaition in 1989) and the breeder of the first litter in the United States in 1981. She continues to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the breed in this country today.
9. A brief overview of your experience as a breeder.
ZB: I bred my first litter of Black and Tan Coonhounds in 2010. I have currently bred eleven litters of Black and Tans and 23 champions. I have been a member of the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club since 2006, served on the Board since 2010 and served as President since 2014. I also breed Standard Manchester Terriers.
NF: We bred our first litter in 2005. Averaging two litters a year, we have 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.
JH: As a child I had two Wire Hair Terriers litters (I am sure my mother did most of the work). I purchased my first Rhodesian Ridgeback in 1959 and have had over 100 champions in the ensuing 60 years. Rolling Kennels is the kennel name and it is found in most Ridgeback pedigrees. I have also shown, and bred , intermittently and one additional breed at a time, Whippets (most famous being Ch. Rolling’s Viktor), Greyhounds, English Bullterriers and Australian Cattle Dogs. I started hip x-rays before there was an OFA and have always gone outside my line to a sire every third litter to avoid health problems. As a result I have had a very healthy line, with few genetic problems. For instance I have never had to make good on my guarantee against dogs with dysplasia.
JM: As far as my experience as a breeder, that has been a lifetime of heartaches, overwhelming joys, constant learning and the satisfaction of knowing that we have done everything in our power to produce healthy dogs that represent what we feel are excellent specimens of the breeds that we have bred,both Poodles and Salukis.
Anyone who has been involved with Poodles for a long time, knows the health challenges in our breed. And so many times, the unsuspecting breeder(s) who fell prey to affected dogs, due to non-disclosures of health problems with dogs in their pedigrees. My mother and I were not immune to this fact with our Poodles, and thus suffered greatly, more emotionally than anything. We health test all of our Salukis, and always encourage the same to anyone we mentor.
EW: We had our first litter in January 2007 and have had four litters since then. We spend a lot of time with our Sloughis, who live in our home, and we concentrate on breeding a small number of healthy, excellent Sloughis with good temperaments and correct type. Our program is firmly based in the authentic, North African Sloughi, and I have imported more Sloughis from Morocco than anyone else in the United States.
10. An overview of the Sighthounds (purpose, temperament, popularity, not necessarily by individual breed but in general)
KA: The Sighthounds have some what declined in popularity from many years ago more than likely because there is have a grooming involved with Afghans and other breeds are not suitable for in-house living because they are a Sighthound they want to run and they want to hunt over all temperament in the ring has come a long way they are nowhere near as skittish as they used to be with strangers. Overall I truly do enjoy judging them both in confirmation and seeing them do their work.
JBr: Watching the Hounds is always a treat. Whether Scenthounds or Sighthounds, the obvious form follows function of their construction/conformation is always a wonderment to me. The fact that so many Hound fanciers give their dogs the opportunity to compete in breed specific competition (from lure coursing to night hunts), is so important in keeping the beautiful lines and instincts of the breeds constant and strong.
NF: You are troublemakers! Sighthounds are dogs that hunt relying on sight, high speed and agility to overpower prey. Conformationally, in my opinion, they should have Greyhound-like physical attributes that best support that endeavor: a deep chest to support a large heart and
lungs capacious enough for sprinting, a flexible back, long legs and a long lean head. True Sighthounds have moderate popularity as pets due to their intense prey drive. Otherwise they are known to be gentile and loyal and great family pets who don’t bark often. Great guard dogs—no.
JH: The Ridgeback is both a Scenthound and a Sighthound. It performs both functions.
I first wrote an article on why the Ridgeback was a Sighthound probably in the 60s because there was a good magazine, Windhound, Sighthound etc. and I wanted them included in it. Unfortunately they were not included until Bo Bengston, publisher, who disagreed, sold
Being a lawyer “pay my fee and I can argue either side”. They are equally a Scenthound.
The basis of my desire was probably that I would rather show against Greyhounds and Whippets, than against Bloodhounds and Otterhounds.
As a group they are relatively stable, not excitable, not argumentative, and willing to please while being quite affectionate (not needy), and being willing to follow you from room to room but willing to lie by your feet and not on your lap. If a Ridgeback barks it means that someone has arrived or there is something to be checked out.
The Ridgeback has grown in popularity year by year, primarily because they are relatively healthy, free from genetic defects, skin problems, breathing problems and overall easy to live with.
JM: Sighthounds versus Scenthounds, I believe you love what you love. People are usually drawn to a certain breed of dogs for the look of that breed. I think then, once they are around that breed, is when they decide if that is the breed they truly love. Salukis are not for everyone, they will certainly keep you entertained. As my mother says all the time, “Those dogs would drive me nuts!” And Gene says, “You don’t own a Saluki, they own you.” I would encourage any newcomer to immerse themselves in reading and learning. Start from the beginning, your AKC breed standard, anatomy, genetics and just keep going. Chose a mentor, someone who has had great success in your chosen breed, and ask for their help. A life in dogs, is a lifetime of learning, and it should never cease.
Salukis don’t like to be left alone, therefore, it is not a breed of dog that is easy to place in a pet home.
When we breed a litter, which is seldom, we are breeding for ourselves. It is difficult to find even a show home, that really will condition a Saluki, physically and mentally, the way we think it should be done. A Saluki should not become a couch potato, although that is one of their favorite places to lounge. I would hope that any owner of a Sighthound and/or Scenthound, would be able to provide the space and the time for their dog(s) to enjoy their lives doing what is innate for them.
EW: Sighthounds are beautiful, sensitive and utilitarian dogs who in general maintain many of the primitive characteristics of their respective breeds. They are certainly not the right choice for every, or even most, households, but for those owners who can appreciate the absolute devotion, the pure athleticism, the untempered hunting instincts, living with sighthounds is an experience without equal.
MC: Historically (and read this to be hundreds of years) the Sighthounds have changed very little in purpose, form,
temperament and most of all beauty. These breeds are showing off their instinctive skills in coursing competitions and many are stars on the agility stage.
GB: My definition of a Sighthound: a breed of dogs that hunts by sight and after seeing its prey, runs it down and kills it. I know that definition eliminates several breeds currently called Sighthounds, including Basenji, Italian Greyhounds and Ridgebacks. I especially like and very much admire Ridgebacks, but I do not consider them Sighthounds. Because they hunt ahead of the gun, they are more independent and require different approach in training and a kind hand.
11. An overview of the Scenthounds (purpose, temperament, popularity, not necessarily by individual breed but in general)
KA: Most of these breeds I feel that many of the Scenthounds lost their purpose they are no longer constructed to be able to do the job that they were bred to do most of them getting too heavy too over done but there there are still many that are certainly capable of doing their job. the aggressiveness of Som is no longer there and they certainly seem that if put into their working zone they would accomplish their job
ZB: Different breeds of Scenthounds are used for different purposes. They are primarily a hunting dog. Some are used to track and tree and some for trailing both game and man. Each breed was developed to hunt in their own style. The typical Scenthound temperament is sweet, loving and friendly. They tend to be aloof with strangers but usually don’t take long to warm up to a new friend. I find them to be very good judges of character. I am surprised that the Coonhound breeds are not more popular with the general public. I consider them one of the best kept secrets amongst purebred dogs. They are lovely and easy to live with, couch potatoes inside the house and more than willing to participate in outdoor activities with their people. Most have a very strong hunting instinct which can make them hard to train for companion events as they are easily distracted by scent. Most also have a strong prey drive but they can live with cats and small animals if they are raised with them.
NF: As you may be able to tell from my previous answer, I am one of the growing number of RR enthusiasts who, along with the FCI, believe that Ridgebacks are better (maybe not best though) classified as Scenthounds—with trepidation, since classification of breeds by groups is an artifice all together—contrived to achieve a particular end. Scenthounds use scent and endurance to hunt. The Ridgeback, closest genetically to the Great Dane, 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. Scenthounds, are generally sturdier than Sighthounds with length of leg that was bred specifically to be prey-type specific. Although this is a divergent group, Scenthounds can be calm sometimes, patient sometimes, steady most of the time and almost always stubborn. Scenthounds can be barkers. They can be good guard dogs. They are profoundly loyal.
MC: The Scenthounds also have held true to their ability over centuries and we see it pressed into action on many occasions. While some of these breeds don’t match the Sighthounds in speed and maneuverability, the old adage “slow and steady wins the race” is alive and well within our Scenthound community. Hunt tests and fieldwork are as popular as ever.
GB: The Scenthounds work more in partnership with man and are less independent in nature, probably more easily trained and therefore more popular. Be aware that I do not consider Dachshunds to be Hounds of either type, but Terriers and should either be in the Terrier Group or in their own separate group.
12. Most of these breeds were developed for particular (and almost always outdoor) purposes but now find themselves leading primarily indoor, air-conditioned lives. How do you think Hounds have adapted to this change?
KA: I think some have adapted very well and can lead indoor outdoor type of lives but you can tell the ones that primarily live indoors they lack the muscle tone they lack the self-assurance of a dog who is allowed to go out and do their job and it shows in their demeanor in the ring.
ZB: Most Hounds are very adaptable. Their hunting instinct is always there, but it can be redirected into other
activities or channeled into activities that allow them to use their senses.
EW: Sighthounds adapt quite readily to the comforts of home and luxury. This is one of the characteristics that makes them excellent house dogs. They tend to be clean in the house and low key and content to be near their people, provided that they have access to adequate space to gallop and exercise on a daily basis in order to naturally work out their considerable energy and joie de vivre.
JBr: The fact that Hounds have hunted (outdoors) in various ways throughout the centuries does not seem to have impacted their ability to enjoy indoor, air-conditioned lives. Their function and reason for being is not affected provided adequate exercise, training and attention to their needs is given. To become a beloved pet and still be allowed to follow instincts and inclinations is a
NF: I don’t believe that breeds have changed as a result of controlled environments, but they have been bred for temperaments necessary in dense urban populations, where intense prey drive doesn’t work and aloofness may be mistaken as menacing.
JH: Most Hounds are shorthaired and while they fit well into indoor living, during the cold weather you will find them camping or lying over or near a heat duct or fireplace. Many enjoy cushions, blankets etc. It depends on the degree of how spoiled they have become.
On the other hand you will find they like nothing better than in warm weather lying, spread out in the sun and relish the heat. Ridgebacks were bred to trot alongside of a horse hunting for big game all day, and to have sufficient energy to chase the quarry and bring it to bay, if discovered. They typically did not attack large game but would attack a warthog or smaller game.
A note of no consequence, Ridgebacks. With few exceptions, do not love swimming and while running in ponds, lakes, streams etc. will not go swimming in pools, lakes or the ocean.
MC: Never underestimate the natural innate function of both these sets of Hounds when it comes to still being able to perform their primary function. They’re smart enough to enjoy the comforts offered, but don’t think for one second they couldn’t kick in keen skills that would enable them to survive, or at least to do the task at hand. I’ve seen it first-hand—a Saluki loose for one full month from Thanksgiving to New Year’s in New York, only to be found living in the woods, having been seen over a six-mile spread, was back to the sofa within a day of capture. Search and Rescue and Scenting dogs are as busy as every in many facets in our society. The work they perform is nothing short of amazing.
13. Current overall quality of the Group?
KA: I feel that there are some excellent examples in the group that show what a Hound should look like should act like you should move like there also those that due to the variable is not adhering to the standard also shows for me personally and give the group 85% of really, really good dogs and 15% that need to look back at their standard and adhere to it.
ZB: The quality of the Hound Group in Southern California is always high and most of the dogs who are doing well in the So Cal Hound Group actually live in So Cal. I find that there are pockets of the country where the Hound Group is not nearly as strong.
JBr: The Hound group, in general, is moderately strong. Of course, some individual specimens always rise above. The ideal outline (topline, underline), strength in
structure, adequate substance, as well as breed specific details are important considerations when evaluating a group. The more rare breeds are being represented fairly regularly in the group and seem to be gaining popularity as the dog loving public has the opportunity to see them.
NF: The strength of quality in the Hound group as a whole is regional. The West Coast climate and terrain allow for the all breeds in the group to do well in both performance events and conformation—year round. Because the entry size is larger and the competition is keen, all Hound breeders have to work really hard to be recognized in the group. At large West Coast events the Hound group is very strong.
JH: As a general statement I think dogs, groups are better today than in the past. Having said that, I am not a “Generalist”, I don’t find bigger or better dogs in one area, the west coast, the east coast etc. I have always found that I like some dogs shown to me and don’t appreciate other dogs shown to me. I was once asked, in a faraway place, to judge a breed that I was not licensed for, had not studied, because a judge had fallen ill they needed a judge. I did not know any of the handlers or dogs. After a 15 minute delay to read the standard, I judged 40 dogs. The audience seemed pleased. When I got home I read the catalogue, every dog that I put up came from the same kennel/ breeding. I was consistent. I think that exhibitors can’t ask for more.
JM: The Hound group overall is very competitive. Usually there will be at least eight to ten breeds in the Hound group worthy of a top win. Some of the newer breeds have really come to the forefront, while the Afghan Hound has severely declined in quantity. In the past, the great Afghan Hound breeders in the USA were plentiful, but that no longer is the case. Fortunately, we still have some great Afghan Hound breeders in the USA and around the world. Breeders are the life of our sport, without great breeders, dog shows will cease to exist.
EW: Excellent. The Hound Group is the largest of the AKC Groups and for decades, there have been outstanding hounds in AKC competition.
MC: They have been, and seems to remain to be, an even uniformity of these groups to have great examples of their respective breeds. If there is anything I’ve notice, it’s that the most recently added breeds may require a few more years to establish a consistency of type. The two notables, to me, are Portuguese Podengo Pequenos and Azawakh. I saw this happen with Ibizans and Pharaohs years ago; the PBGVs leveled out seemingly fast as have the recent additions to the Coonhound and
GB: Quality is so very much dependent on the part of the country. Also, seeing really good representatives of the breed in the group ring does not speak to the quality of the dogs defeated or the dogs in the classes. This is especially true in Dachshunds and Afghan Hounds, in my experience. Generally speaking, I think Whippets are, overall, in the best shape of the Sighthounds I judge. I have found some really good Wirehaired Dachshunds and PBGVs and, although, I’m not approved to judge them, there are a lot of very nice Basenjis out there.
14. Changes you’ve seen during your tenure as guardian of these breeds?
KA: Many of the Scenthounds have maintained their sound, less there came proper coats and proper demeanor, I would say in the Sighthounds some have grown too large. Some are beautiful but lacked the soundness that I would like to see. I also think that too much emphasis and put on long coated dogs yes they are to have longer hair in certain places but that doesn’t mean such an abundance that it hides the dog underneath the hair.
ZB: I’ve been watching a handful of Black and Tan breeders very closely for the past 12 years. The overall quality has changed in some for the better, and in others for the worse. Twelve years ago, a lot of the top winning dogs were beautiful in the stack but unbalanced front to rear. As a result, the movement was really poor and the dogs looked as if they wouldn’t be able to do their job. This has most definitely improved over the past ten years. Currently, our biggest problem as a breed is temperament. Our Parent Club motto is “Strength, Beauty and Courage”. These dogs are bred to trail and tree raccoon and are used on big game (bear, mountain lion, wild boar). We are seeing a lot of dogs in the ring who are spooky, cannot be examined and are distressed by the slightest disturbance inside or outside of the ring. That is not proper Black and Tan temperament. Aloof—yes, spooky and untouchable—no.
JBr: New Hound judges must always remember the function of the various Hound breeds. It is the ability of the dogs to perform this specific function that must be absolutely foremost in the minds of new judges. Prior to attempting to judge the Hounds, aspiring judges should make every effort to watch the various breeds work (Dachshunds, Bassets, Saluki, Beagles—all different).
NF: 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
JH: Dogs in each breed have gotten more refined and probably on a more comprehensive scale had gotten better. There are less “bad” dogs than I used to see. Temperaments are more stable and within each breed a judge is less likely to be “nailed”. Perhaps I am more careful, but I think that handlers emphasize this more today. It is not like the man who brought his Ridgeback in on a clothesline and let him look at the judge, me.
On the other hand if you look at the head shots on my dogs in six different decades, you will see that are consistently similar and you cannot tell which decade they lived in.
EW: There is always a vulnerability for breeds to evolve toward show ring fads, which is unfortunate for all breeds and highly damaging to Hounds and Sighthounds in particular. These are formidable, efficient hunters that developed over thousands of years to perform specific functions. Coursing live game with Hounds is becoming illegal in many parts of the world and to lose the function for which these incredible Hounds were developed will be their demise if we allow that to happen. Guardians of these breeds must work hard to preserve these
MC: Without a doubt, I place human intervention as the single biggest influence that is changing these breeds. One can’t strip away their inborn ability, but they sure as hell can take a stripping blade and change the standard’s
intentions for natural patterning or texture that make a breed unique. Combine that with the need for speed—which some judges fail to control—and it is causing some of these proud and purposeful breeds to be distorted. No Basset Hound need be shown on a tight lead yanking its head up. The breed needs to follow their nose and let the wrinkles roll! I am getting increasing nervous about the fad to import dogs from the lands of origin in Sighthounds. I do not see these breeds being of the make and shape of what I perceive the breed to have been before wars and strife have homogenized them into a generic breed that it currently appears to be. Here in the US, we have a standard and a linage that is well documented. I fail to see the need to inject dogs of unknown parentage into our pedigrees.
15. Any shift in the balance of popularity among breeds, and why?
KA: I feel the smaller breeds have gained in popularity and that’s basically due to peoples’ living quarters. I, for one, am no longer on a farm and have room for the larger dogs to go do their job/exercise the way I want them to, so now I am down to a smaller dog who can exercise just as well in a smaller space.
ZB: The different Coonhound breeds are slowly becoming more popular. Other than the Black and Tan, the other five Coonhound breeds are newly recognized by AKC within the past ten years. The additions of these breeds are making Coonhounds, in general, more popular but we still don’t have the numbers to compete with a lot of the Sighthound breeds.
JBr: With few exceptions, the Hounds do not have overwhelming popularity, which is always a good thing. The Hound breeders are careful and conscientious in their practices which is evident in the show ring and other competitive events.
NF: Ridgebacks continue to increase in popularity. Despite some negative press about Ridgebacks being aggressive and less than ideal as a family dog, improved temperaments have settled most fears. Low maintenance dogs with versatility are sought by folks with active life styles. “Purse” dogs have lost some of their popularity, but having both small and large dogs comingled in a household has become quite popular.
JH: Yes, the Ridgeback has gotten more popular because the breed has been around longer, there are more breeders, and as noted above they are easy to live with. Greyhounds are less popular and with the current limitation on racing, they will decrease more. Afghans have substantially decreased in popularity because it is difficult to let them loose and it takes a lot of time to bathe and groom one. Most handlers don’t want to take the time (six hours) to groom an average show Afghan.
Our grandparent were great card players because there was nothing else for them to do. Today there is such a bevy of things to do, requiring attention, few want to spend the time required to groom a dog with coat.
MC: I can only speak to the breeds I’m personally involved in. There has been a decided decline in the Afghan Hound ownership over the past 20 years. Is it the millennials who don’t want to do all the coat care required? Who knows, but they certainly are on a fast track as a low entry breed for sure. We once needed 90 (yes, nine-zero) for a five-point major—now it’s 15 maximum in any division. In a word: sad!
16. Any particular challenges Hound breeders face in our current economic/social climate?
KA: It is no longer feasible to someone keeping a large kennel of dogs for breeding purposes, a large pack of Hounds for hunting due to economic reasons and social climates there are way too many laws going into effect which limit breeders to the number of dogs they may have and require a certain size property in order to have them
ZB: I don’t find much of a change in the short amount of time that I have been involved in breeding Hounds; however, my dogs are not used for their intended purpose. My dogs are bred for show and companionship and don’t get the opportunity to hunt. That said, there is a large market for companion Black and Tans and these dogs fit well into the urban lifestyle as long as their owners are responsible for properly secure fencing, providing exercise and channeling their natural hunting instincts.
NF: Like all purebred dogs, Hounds 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.
JH: This is a general question, for the most part Hound owners face the same questions that other breeders/showers face. The growth of costs, both entry fees, handler’s fees, veterinarian fees increasing number of shows makes it more difficult and expensive to show a dog. With the increased number of shows to be within the top ten it probably requires going to over 100 shows a year. The sport has become a rich man’s sport that an ordinary breeder cannot afford. There are people that probably spend close to one million dollars a year, showing numerous dogs, or various breeds, to top winning positions in the sport. This has not only affected the showing of dogs, but also the raising and maintaining of large kennels as they did in my early years.
EW: Hounds are active breeds. Many of them are large and all of them are bred for hunting purposes. In an increasingly urbanized America, where people are more and more removed from relying on their partnerships with dogs for survival and in light of the aggressive animal rights propaganda, breeds like Hounds may certainly be at increased risk.
MC: The coursing breeds are running out of rooms to play in as urban development steals away open spaces. I would think it is the same for woods and hunt packs.
Interestingly, two breeds (both of which have had some challenges figuring out to which grouping they fit best in), the Basenji and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, have increased in popularity. The former is a very attractive dog for the city dweller, I would have to assume for their cat-like attitude and compartmented physique. The latter attracts a Yuppie family for their size and love of activity.
17. What makes a Hound the ideal companion in these 21st century times?
ZB: Hounds are sweet and funny. They are attentive to their owner’s emotional needs and make wonderful family pets. I can’t imagine life without a Hound.
NF: Most Hounds are fairly versatile, low maintenance family dogs. They are great if you have an active lifestyle and appreciate being a couch potato (sometimes) if you don’t.
EW: Dogs in general are ideal companions. Nowhere else can one find the kind of unconditional love that a dog so readily offers and for which it asks so little in return. What do Hounds offer that is different? To the right home and the right individual who can understand and appreciate their particular independence, they are ideal.
MC: Anyone’s guess is as good as mine. I could never figure out what attracts one to a breed; but I do know that once one owns a particular breed, they stay with it. Some may downsize from an Afghan Hound to a Chinese