Interview with Hound Group Judge Frederick Vogel
Dogs of any breed, and hounds in particular, have been a constant for me. I met my first Borzoi in 1969 while a student at Bowdoin College, and that lead to my being owned by one in 1974. I met my wife, Carol, in 1978 when we bought littermates, and in 1982 we married. Over the years, we have bred and finished over thirty Borzoi champions under the kennel name Brodny. Our Ch. Brodny’s Ironwood won the Borzoi Club of America’s National Show in 1994 under the later Borzoi breeder-judge Dr. Asa Mays. Most recently, we campaigned to Number One the littermate brothers, GCh. Greyhaven’s Wizard Crystal and GCh. Greyhaven’s This Rough Magic SC FCH CGC, both bred by our good friend Marilyn Polsfuss, Greyhaven Borzoi. Not since the late ‘70s have there been multiple Best in Show brothers, and they were handled to their wins by me. “Aidan” also won the breed at Westminster and at All-Hound Shows.
Dachshunds joined the Vogel household in 1986 when the late Dachshund breeder/artist Peggy Westphal presented us with “Tommy,” a Standard Wirehaired Dachshund who became Ch. Westphal’s Tomten of Brodny. Within a year, “Lushy,” Ch. Westphal’s Lush Life of Brodny, joined us and, as they say, “the rest is history.” Carol and I joined forces with our longtime friend and Dachshund breeder, Judy Anderson, and under the Brodny-Schoolhouse prefix we have bred more than one hundred Dachshund champions, mostly Wires, many of which were Best in Show winners, National Specialty Variety winners, Specialty winners, and Westminster winners. Add Greyhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, and PBGVs to the mix of Hounds that have resided in our home.
I am the Delegate from the Windham County Kennel Club, a member and past Show Chairman and President of the Eastern Dog Club, a Lifetime Member of the Borzoi Club of America, and a member of the Dachshund Club of America and the Greyhound Club of America. I am licensed to judge the entire Hound Group and am permit for four Terrier breeds. Currently, I am a member of the AKC By-Laws Committee.
In 2014, the Santa Barbara Kennel Club and Purina Pro Plan, in conjunction with the Breeder’s Showcase, honored Carol and I along with Judy Anderson, our Dachshund co-breeder, as “Outstanding Breeders and Contributors to the Sport of Dogs and to the Hound Group.”
In 2022, I judged the Wirehaired Variety at the Dachshund Club of America’s National Specialty.
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a judge?
Frederick Vogel: My wife, Carol, and I live in Pomfret Center, Connecticut. I have been judging since February 2010.
What is my original breed? What is/was my kennel name?
Frederick Vogel: My original breed is Borzoi, which I have owned since 1974. We added Wirehaired Dachshunds in 1986. Our kennel name is Brodny, although we have co-bred many Dachshund litters under the kennel name Brodny-Schoolhouse with our late friend, Judy Anderson.
Can I list a few of the notable dogs I’ve bred? Any performance or parent club titles?
Frederick Vogel: Ch. Brodny’s Ironwood, winner of the Borzoi Club of America National in 1994 under the late Dr. Asa Mays; Ch. Brodny’s It Happened One Night, Winners Dog at the Dachshund National in 1993; Ch. Brodny Schoolhouse Applause, Best of Variety at the Dachshund National Centennial Show in 1995, and Westminster Variety Winner, 1994, 1995. And many others…
What are some of the qualities I most admire in the Hound breeds?
Frederick Vogel: The versatility of Hound Breeds. There is something for everyone in the Hound Group, from Conformation to Lure Coursing, Scent Work, Field Trials, and Barn Hunts. Size ranges from Mini-Dachshunds in three coats for apartment dwellers or small home owners to the giant breeds for owners with more space, like Borzoi, Irish Wolfhounds, Greyhounds, and Afghan Hounds. The short-coated breeds, like a Smooth Dachshund, Basenji, and Basset Hound, are for those who do not want grooming. The Hound Group has dog lovers covered.
There is something for everyone in the Hound Group, from Conformation to Lure Coursing, Scent Work, Field Trials, and Barn Hunts.
Have I judged any Hound Breed/Group Specialties?
Frederick Vogel: Yes. Most recently I have judged the Wirehaired Variety at the Dachshund Club of America; Rocky Mountain Borzoi Specialty; Irish Wolfhound Association of New England; and the Valley Forge Basset Hound Club, to name a few.
Hounds are, first and foremost, hunters. How does this inform my decision-making in the show ring?
Frederick Vogel: Can the Hound I am judging do the job for which it was bred? I assess the entire package; structure and soundness.
How important are breed hallmarks in the Sighthounds? In the Scenthounds? In the “Primitive” Hounds?
Frederick Vogel: To me, the hallmarks of the different breeds are what make the breeds! An Afghan’s flowing coat and haughty appearance of looking past you sets it apart from the Bloodhound with its long ears and excessive skin, or the Basenji with its tightly curled, ringed tail and furrowed brow. A Dachshund of any variety would not be a Dachshund if it were not long, low, and level, nor would a Basset Hound. And the pro-sternum sets them apart too. An Otterhound needs its webbed feet and harsh, waterproof coat to do its job, and the Beagle, with its pleading eyes and voice to work in the field, is like the members of the Coonhound clan.
Would I have any advice to impart to newer judges of the Hound Breeds who come from other Groups?
Frederick Vogel: Study, watch, and talk to Hound owners. There are nuances that make a Sighthound different from a Scenthound. As with all breeds, “beauty is in the details,” to paraphrase Mies van der Rohe. Learn and look for those details, like the folds in the ears of a Basset Hound, the way the ears drape on the Black and Tan Coonhound, the wrinkles of the Basenji’s head, the fine leather of a Borzoi’s ear, and the chiseling of their foreface, and the same in the Smooth Dachshund. Look for the bladed bone of a Greyhound or Borzoi or Whippet. Breeds of all Groups have distinctive features that set one breed apart from another.
In my opinion, how do today’s exhibits compare with the Hounds of the past?
Frederick Vogel: Personally, I think that Hounds of today have become more generic than the Hounds of the past. Many of the finer details have become overlooked. Breeders have changed their views and altered Breed Standards to fit what is in their kennels. The Breed Standards are the “blueprint” of the specific breed and, when originally written, it was written to describe the job for which that breed was bred to perform. It is the great Hounds of the past that we as breeders should look to. After all, how do you know where you are going if you don’t understand where you came from?
When it comes to Group and Best in Show competition, do Hounds have a “leg up” or a liability? (Think Westminster.)
Frederick Vogel: When it comes to the final seven for Best in Show, whomever has made it that far is on pretty equal ground. Sometimes it is how that dog “asks for it” or has that “it” quality that wins. In the Group, sometimes it is that dog again who has quality that transcends being just another example of the breed… a certain quality that stands out and makes that dog shine on that day among its competitors.
If I could share my life with only one Hound Breed, which would it be and why?
Frederick Vogel: Not easy! I enjoy my Borzoi and cannot imagine being without them for their quiet, athletic beauty, but I enjoy the fun that the Dachshunds bring to our lives… they are funny and can amuse themselves.
Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences judging the Hound Group?
Frederick Vogel: I wasn’t judging, but I was exhibiting a Borzoi in the Hound Group. He was a lure coursing champion, and a flock of sparrows landed in the ring. Despite the judge attempting to scare them off, they kept landing on the mat in the ring. My Borzoi moved beautifully, and as we neared one of the sparrows he lowered his head, ready to scoop up the bird but it flew off—just in time—as my Hound leapt in the air. The spectators applauded for his attempt. I think we won the Group that day, thanks to the sparrows!