Interview with Hound Group Breeder D. Scott Pfeil – Wynsyr Kennels
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
D. Scott Pfeil: We live in Ingleside, Illinois, about forty miles northwest of Chicago on 10 beautiful acres with a pond. I have been involved in the sport of purebred dogs for over 35 years and have been breeding for 30 years.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
D. Scott Pfeil: Our kennel name is Wynsyr. Our original breed is the Afghan Hound, and we also breed Salukis and Italian Greyhounds, and have most recently been involved in Greyhounds. We currently keep 13 dogs between our various breeds.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
D. Scott Pfeil: Two Afghans immediately come to mind. One of our best-known was MBIS GCH Wynsyr China Doll, our beautiful white bitch who won 22 Best in Specialty Show awards. She won her last BISS at 12 years of age and lived to be nearly 17. Another was BIS MBISS CH Wynsyr Scimitar’s Tyson who was the top-winning Afghan in 2008. “Tyson” was co-owned with Debbie and JW Rogers and piloted by Mark Bettis. In Afghans, the Specialty ring was always our focus and we have bred over a dozen individual BISS winners.
I must also mention our spectacular Saluki bitch, MBIS MBISS GCHS Baghdad A MissDemeanor. “Demi” was bred in Australia by Paula Bockman-Chato of the legendary Baghdad Salukis, and was a multiple all-breed Best in Show winner in Australia, the United States, and Canada. She was the top-winning Saluki (Breed System) in 2016, winning the National plus ten other major Specialties that year. She was universally admired by both breeder-judges and all-rounders, which makes her analogous to a unicorn in the Saluki world!
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
D. Scott Pfeil: In Afghans, our foundation bitch was CH Charlemagne Kiara, a daughter of the legendary CH Elmo’s Tutankhamun. “Kiara” was bred by Barb Wayne and is behind every Wynsyr Afghan bred to this day. We believe firmly in the importance of linebreeding and maintaining pedigrees.
We have also bred three times (between 1998 and 2012) to the dog we consider to be Tutankhamun’s greatest son, CH Paladin the Darkman V Isameh. “Mo” has had a tremendous influence in
BISS CH Wynsyr Out of Africa was also a remarkable sire who consistently stamped his progeny with incredible breed type, sound beautiful, movement, and incredible temperaments. He has produced Group and Specialty winners in each of his litters to date.
Our foundation Saluki bitch, CH Karista’s Tickled Pink, was the dam of 14 champions and won the American Saluki Association’s Brood Bitch trophy in 2015.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
D. Scott Pfeil: We live on ten acres and have a kennel facility attached to our home. Our kennel hastwelve large indoor/outdoor runs. The kennel has one skylight for every two runs, which brings in a lot of natural light. The dogs are rotated through the exercise yards during the day and are also allowed in the house. We believe that plenty of room for running, fresh air, and natural sunlight are crucial to the dogs’ physical and psychological well-being. Puppies are whelped in our family room so that they can be exposed to all the sounds and hustle & bustle that goes on. Once they are old enough, we invite people over for puppy socialization parties.
What is my “process” for selecting show puppies? At what age do I make my decisions?
D. Scott Pfeil: We always make our evaluations at 8 weeks of age. At that age, we feel they display the balance and construction that they will possess at maturity, and they are also old enough to have an idea of their temperament and aptitude for the show ring.
How do I prepare my pups for the show ring? Does my breed require any special preparation?
D. Scott Pfeil: Socialization is crucial with Sighthounds. Breeds that can be naturally aloof really need to be exposed from a very early age to being approached by strangers, crowded venues, and all the noises that can go along with a dog show. Beyond that they just need a lot of patience, and over-training should be avoided as it makes it boring for the puppy down the road.
Can I share my thoughts on how my breed is currently presented in the show ring?
D. Scott Pfeil: Salukis and Greyhounds are straightforward when it comes to presentation. Afghans are more prone to flights of fad and fashion. Right now, I think we are in a place where the majority of exhibits are properly presented. We will occasionally see excessive trimming/styling and over-stretching on the stack, which emphasizes rear angulation and makes the topline slope.
Are there any health-related concerns within my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
D. Scott Pfeil: Afghans are basically a healthy breed, and breeders are good about checking for hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, and auto-immune thyroiditis.
In Salukis, I wish more people would do health testing. The breed does not currently participate in the CHIC program. The primary concerns are heart issues and hemangiosarcoma.
Greyhounds have a very concerning new neurological condition which has been identified in recent years. In a rare breed where the gene pool is fairly limited, this can be problematic. Fortunately, this is being studied and more information is coming to light. It is something that needs attention from breeders.
In my opinion, is my breed in good condition overall? Any trends that warrant concern?
D. Scott Pfeil: In Afghans, I worry that too many people are sacrificing basic soundness and functionality for extreme side movement. The breed is sharply declining in numbers, with many longtime breeders retiring or passing away while very few new people come into the breed. While there are some gorgeous, correct specimens out there, it does seem like quality is not as strong as it has been in the past. Perhaps it just seems this way because the numbers are so much smaller.
Quality in Salukis tends to stay generally the same as time goes by. I have not seen much change in the condition of the breed during my time in dogs.
Greyhounds are certainly a breed where exaggeration and extremes can easily take over. Too often the leggy, curvy, moderate, classic Greyhound is replaced by examples that are too long in body, low on leg, flat, and over-angulated—often with a huge side gait the breed has not been traditionally known for.
Is my breed well-suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
D. Scott Pfeil: All of our breeds can make fantastic pets for the right families. The Greyhounds, in particular, are perfect companions in our eyes! They are low maintenance and very people-oriented when well-socialized.
Salukis, and particularly Afghans, need a lot of patience. They can be quite independent and manipulative! They do require extra care in socialization and positive training methods. And did I
Do I feel that my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
D. Scott Pfeil: I worry that we are losing too many great Afghan breeders before their knowledge can be passed on to the few newcomers we have coming into the breed. These days, it’s not just about breeding great dogs. We have the onus of making sure that we preserve our history and breed culture by mentoring the younger generation of fanciers. Newer breeders have the responsibility of absorbing this knowledge like a sponge. There is much more to “preservation breeding” than just producing quality puppies!
Most Saluki breeders fit the definition of preservation breeder. While there are different camps and different viewpoints, the breed culture is one truly dedicated to preserving this wonderful
The Greyhound community may be small but it is loyal to the breed! In light of the new neurological disease that has been identified, it has been especially wonderful to see the community rally around breeding healthy dogs that are sound in mind and body. With the decline of the racing industry, many people who have fallen in love with the breed via their retired racing hounds will now need to turn to breeders of AKC dogs when looking for their next companion. This places great responsibility on breeders to ensure that their dogs meet the Standard and have the health and temperament that families want in a pet, and I believe that there are some great breeders doing exactly that!
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
D. Scott Pfeil: I had a very promising young Afghan Hound male. I had been working with him every day and taking him to conformation classes. I thought he was amazing and wanted him to be perfect in the ring. He loved doing it and was the perfect show dog. He wanted to please me so badly. I decided we would take a weekend off and go coursing. I wanted to show everyone how great this dog was and I just knew he would be amazing in the field! It was his turn and I made sure EVERYONE was watching this amazing dog. The call came and I released him. He took off! Well, he took off for about 50 feet or so before he realized I wasn’t alongside him. He abruptly stopped, turned around, looked at me, and did the perfect show trot right back to me. He was so very proud of himself. Everyone was watching and everyone was laughing. I was humiliated for about five seconds until I realized that if I was going to spend the rest of my life with this amazing breed, I’d better learn humility fast!