Interview with Hound Group Judge JoAnne Buehler
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
JoAnne Buehler: I relocated to Melbourne, Florida, in 2021 from the greater DC area where I’d lived for some 36 years. I have had Afghan Hounds since 1979. I’ve been judging since 2002, starting out with only my own breed, Afghan Hounds. I am currently approved by AKC to judge three full Groups and roughly another two dozen breeds, Miscellaneous, and All-Breed Juniors.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
JoAnne Buehler: My original breed (and still my “Heart Breed”) is the Afghan Hound. I breed under the Prefix of “Sankhya.” The name is something I studied for months before settling on.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
JoAnne Buehler: I could, but prefer not to.
What are some of the qualities I most admire in the Hound Breeds?
JoAnne Buehler: The beautiful “form follows function” …flowing throughout the bodies of Sighthounds, always captivates me. They are designed by nature to do a job from top to bottom—and it shows.
Have I judged any Hound Breed/Group Specialties?
JoAnne Buehler: I have judged many Hound Breed Specialties and Group Specialties in the US and overseas. I am honored to be invited to judge such at LEEDS in England in 2023, originally scheduled for 2021.
Hounds are, first and foremost, hunters. How does this inform my decision-making in the show ring?
JoAnne Buehler: Quite simply! They MUST be able to do the job they were originally intended to do! This must include breed-specific movement and endurance.
How important are breed hallmarks in the Sighthounds? In the Scenthounds? In the “Primitive” Hounds?
JoAnne Buehler: Breed hallmarks, as they now like to call them, are vital to the essence of these breeds, be they Sighthound or Scenthound. One must be able to judge both equally to their original purpose.
Would I have any advice to impart to newer judges of the Hound Breeds who come from other Groups?
JoAnne Buehler: If you do not come from Sighthounds, you should go immerse yourself in a good National for one of the Sighthounds. They are truly different than any other breed, period. If you don’t, you will never really grasp them. Understanding them is part of mastering these breeds in the
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Hounds of the past?
JoAnne Buehler: We are always hearing how wonderful the dogs of old were, and many of them were. We do, however, have many good dogs today. Mostly, the good dogs now come from breeders who still understand the essence of a good dog—that a pedigree does, in fact, tell a story of who the dogs are.
When it comes to Group and Best in Show competition, do Hounds have a “leg up” or a liability? (Think Westminster.)
JoAnne Buehler: I truly wish for only the best dogs of any Group to win! Hounds have had their day, and they will again. Neither a leg up nor a liability, in my opinion.
If I could share my life with only one Hound Breed, which would it be and why?
JoAnne Buehler: I would go back to my Afghan Hounds. Once you have lived with them, there just is no other!
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Hound Group?
JoAnne Buehler: I am sure many judges will, but I cannot think of one right now.